NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their relief after a young family managed to safely flee their home after an early morning fire.
The mum and her five-year-old daughter were upstairs in their Kimberley Street home, in Hartlepool, at the time of the blaze but managed to escape out of the back door.
The mum, who did not want to be named, then raised the alarm.
Crews from Stranton Fire Station were quickly on the scene to deal with two armchairs which were well alight in the living room.
Fire chiefs believe a wicker basket or dry flower arrangement, which was next to a gas fire, caught fire and spread to the chairs.
Neighbours spoke to the Mail about their relief that the pair made it out safely.
David Bosley, 63, a single dad-of-three who lives next door, said: “It must have been quite a scary experience for them, but I am pleased that they have both made it out safely.
“I was awake at the time and I heard the drama. At first I thought it was the police, but then I realised it was the fire brigade. I am pleased that they have not been hurt.”
Full-time mum Kelly Walker, 22, who lives opposite in Kimberley Street, said: “I was in bed asleep at the time but I am really pleased to hear that they have got out safely.”
One armchair was destroyed and another badly damaged in the incident at 1.35am on Thursday.
A spokesman for Stranton Fire Station said: “We believe it was a wicker basket or a dry flower arrangement which was adjacent to a gas fire that ignited and spread to an armchair.”
Fire chiefs say the house was not fitted with adequate smoke alarms.
The fire spokesman added: “Properties are much safer with a fitted smoke alarm.”
They have urged people to book a Home Fire Safety Check visit by calling (01429) 874063.