10:58am Thursday 3rd January 2013
A terrified family with four young children fled a blaze in their converted barn home after what could have been a terrible tragedy but for the swift arrival of firefighters.
A smoke alarm woke the father after fire broke out in the roof of the Braith-waite Village property shortly after 2am on Friday. He managed to safely evacuate his family and raise the alarm.
Two crews from Keighley fire station and one from Bingley spent four hours tackling the blaze – believed to have been caused by a faulty chimney from a wood-burning stove – and prevented the house being destroyed.
The steel flue passed through a plasterboard ceiling into empty roof space beneath stone slate, which is where the fire broke out.
Flames destroyed some of the roof and left the house heavily smoke-damaged.
Watch commander Mark Collingwood, of Keighley fire station, said the situation could have been much worse if the blaze had not been detected early.
“It was lucky the owner of the property found it,” said Mr Collingwood.
“He then called us out and got his family, including four children, out.
“The family was very lucky and it could have been very different.”
Mr Collingwood added: “It took quite a large area of the roof out. We had to open the roof up to gain access to put the fire out.”
Bradford councillor Jan Smithies lives two doors away and said she was woken by the sound of fire engines at about 3am.
“It’s a dreadful shame for this to happen, especially at this time of year. The children must have been terrified – they’re all very young,” added Coun Smithies (Lab, Keighley West).
“There was a high wind that night and fire could have spread through the roof space.
“It just goes to prove smoke detectors save lives – that and the fire service being prompt, professional and local.
“They have that local knowledge, which is so valuable. A lot of delivery people say they struggle to find us because Braithwaite Village doesn’t appear on their sat navs.”
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