A HYSTERICAL couple and toddler had to jump for their lives from a first-floor bedroom window to escape an early morning blaze in their home.
They were asleep when the deadly blaze started and frantically fled the smoke-logged house in Greatham Village, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, after being awoken by the smoke alarm.
The blaze, which started in the kitchen, is believed to have been sparked by an electrical fault in a fridge.
The couple and young child were forced to jump 15ft to safety from the front bedroom window as thick black smoke filled the house.
Concerned neighbours, who described the trio as “hysterical”, said the man jumped out first onto a pile of bedding in the front garden, before the young girl was passed down.
The woman then jumped into the garden.
Fire chiefs say they had a “very lucky escape” and said the smoke alarms saved
It took over an hour for firefighters to get the fire under control.
Crews from Stranton Fire Station and Billingham Fire Station raced to the house in Saltaire Terrace, Greatham, at 3.40am yesterday.
Crew manager Kenny Braham, of Stranton Fire Station, said: “There was a woman, man and young child asleep upstairs at the time and they ended up having to jump from a first floor bedroom window.
“They had a very lucky escape after being alerted by the smoke alarm.
“It was probably the smoke alarm which saved them.
“They’d had a free home fire safety visit and enacted their fire plan.
“This shows the importance of smoke alarms.”
The woman, who was treated for shock, was taken to hospital by ambulance as a precaution for smoke inhalation.
Neighbour Elliot Andrews, 26, said: “I was woken up after hearing the alarm and looked outside my bedroom window and saw the neighbour’s boyfriend outside in the garden.
“I just heard the word “fire” and by the time I got downstairs the young girl was out and my neighbour was just about to jump.
“They were all in hysterics and it must have been really scary for them.”
Elliot and his wife Joanne, 24, took the young girl inside their home to keep her warm while firefighters tackled the fire next door.
Elliot, who is dad to four-year-old Ruby and works at the Grand Hotel in Hartlepool, added: “This is a close-knit community and we are just really pleased and relieved that they managed to get out ok.”
The fire damaged home is rented from Housing Hartlepool.
The couple, who were too upset to speak when approached by the Mail, are believed to be living with relatives in Seaton Carew.
Fire chiefs say the kitchen was 80 per cent fire damaged, while the rest of the house suffered 50 per cent smoke damage.
Crew manager Braham added: “There was a lot of fire and heat damage to the kitchen and smoke damage to the rest of the house.
“It was the fridge that caught fire and we believe it was caused by an electrical fault.”
● For more information about free home fire safety visits call (01429) 874063.