Stoke family flees blaze started by candle
FOUR family members were rescued from a house fire sparked by an unattended candle.
The occupants of the property in Campbell Road, Stoke, had been trapped on the first floor as the fire consumed their living room.
Neighbours helped them escape the blaze through a bedroom window, shortly before the arrival of the emergency services.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, described how he helped to rescue the family during the incident on Friday evening.
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He said: "The whole street was filled with smoke and I ran over to the house to help them to get out of the window. The scene was quite scary, you don't expect it to happen to people who live so close.
"It is so awful that this has happened never mind during Christmas but at least no one got seriously injured.
"They are a big family, it is very upsetting to think of what they must be going through."
Fire crews from Newcastle, Hanley and Longton were called to the scene at 6.30pm after a neighbour saw smoke billowing out of the building and its occupants, believed to be two men in their 20s a woman in her 50s and a man in his 60s, running to safety.
Firefighters used breathing apparatus as they tackled the first floor fire.
Two of the family members were taken to hospital, although neither was seriously injured.
Neighbour Pauline Bullock, aged 66, said: "I realised something was wrong when I could smell burning inside my house, we had to shut all the windows. As far as I know they escaped out of the bedroom window without harm.
"There was smoke billowing everywhere and an awful smell filled the streets.
"They are lovely people, it is such a shame."
An investigation has found that the fire was caused by a candle that had been left unattended on a fireplace. The candle fell over, setting fire to a settee and contents of the lounge.
There were no smoke detectors fitted at the property.
Assistant area commander Brian Griffiths, at Staffordshire Fire and Rescue service, said: "Whenever you use candles at this time of year make sure that they are secure and away from any flammable materials.
"Fortunately the occupier was alerted by the smoke. If this had been during the later hours of the morning we may have been looking at three or four fatal casualties in the property."
Fire crews will be visiting residents in the Campbell Road area over the next few days to offer residents free fire safety advice.