A dad described how his family had a dramatic escape from a fire just yards from his home in the early hours of the morning.
Three families had to flee their homes in Templeton Close, Hartlepool, after a large van caught fire on a driveway at around 1am on yesterday.
Next door neighbour Jonny Worth, 44, along with his wife, two teenage daughters and their pet dog had scrambled over fences to safety.
Heat from the fire caused some damage to the front of two houses and also destroyed Jonny’s VW Tiguan car.
Luckily, everyone got out of their homes safely.
Jonny, an equine operations manager, told the Mail: “We were all asleep when my eldest daughter heard a noise, looked out and saw the van was burning.
“She raised the alarm and got us all out of bed. I took a look out the window and knew straightaway there was no way we could have come out the front.
“The back gate is at the side of the house so that would have taken us even closer to the fire.
“It was seriously burning. We hopped over the fence, me my wife, two kids and our dog into next door’s.
“They were coming out at the same time and we had to hop over their fence and out onto a little field.
“It was a bit much adventure for quarter to one in the morning.”
The fire brigade was already on its way after being called by a neighbour.
Two fire engines from Hartlepool Community Fire Station quickly arrived and put out the fire and cleared the smoke.
Watch manager Jason Wood, from Hartlepool Community Fire Station, said: “When we attended, a van was well alight on the driveway, which had spread to another vehicle.
“Both vehicles had radiated heat to the adjoining premises, which caused heat damage to the front of the premises. It was confirmed that all occupants were out and we then extinguished the fire and removed the smoke from the premises.”
Jonny added: “You hear about fires but I have never been involved in anything like that.
“I could see the flames from the grassed bank and realised that my car was probably for it.
“Luckily it hasn’t touched my wife’s car and hasn’t done a great deal of damage to the house.
“It could have been a hell of a lot worse.
“We are just thankful that everybody got out safely.”