Security calls after fire strikes at derelict house in Smallthorne
FAMILIES are concerned about security at a derelict house after it went up in flames.
People in Smallthorne feared for their safety as fire took hold of the near 200-year-old Ford Green House.
The blaze was so fierce neighbours could hear wood burning.
Crews from Sandyford, Burslem and Hanley to the Ford Green Road house – and had to call for extra help from colleagues in Kidsgrove.
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Investigations are continuing into what caused the fire, in the early hours of Christmas Day.
Several homes in Tudor Rose Court, off Ford Green Road, back on to the empty house.
Mandy Goodwin, aged 41, was woken by loud noises at about 4am on Christmas Day
She said: "I heard some crackling and asked my husband to look outside, he looked out and said that I better call the fire brigade quickly.
"There were big flames and the noise of the wood burning was very loud."
Shaun Alcock, aged 46, whose house backs on to the site, said that he was not woken by the fire but his 11-year-old son was.
He said: "My son said that he saw lights flashing through the window from his bed and did not get up, because he thought that it was Santa, delivering presents."
Mr Alcock has repeatedly tied up the gate at the entrance to the house to keep it secure after it kept falling down.
He said: "I am disappointed because they took the gate off even though they have had a few people sneaking in around the back. Security-wise we are affected."
Twenty-four- year-old mother of two, Sian Campbell, was also woken up at about 4am.
She said: "It sounded like rain at first, I kept tossing and turning for a while but then I was worried that it was someone breaking in.
"I looked outside and saw a big blaze. We were worried about the house."
She phoned the fire brigade who turned up within 10 minutes.
Fire officers worked for two hours to put the fire out and left the scene at 6.17am.
A Staffordshire Fire and Rescue spokesperson said: "The cause of the fire is still being investigated and we are not able to tell whether it was a deliberate ignition at this point."
A spokesperson from Staffordshire Police said: "Patrol attended the fire.
"The council were also contacted as a structural engineer was required to secure the building.
"There was nothing to suggest that there was a break-in."
Ford Green House was due to be bulldozed as part of a scheme to build 10 houses on the site.
But in 2009 the house was spared demolition despite the approval of a plan to build four homes within its grounds.
The house, believed to be almost 200 years old, was put up for sale in 2004, with a guide price of about £385,000.