NEIGHBOURS have told how they rushed to help a family as a fire tore through a three-storey home.
Jamie Stedman ran into the burning house to rescue two teenagers as windows exploded around him.
And Joe Spencer used a hosepipe from the back garden in a desperate attempt to hold back the blaze in Park House Farm Way, Leigh Park.
The fire is believed to have been started by a cigarette on a bed mattress.
Jamie Walsh, 18, was babysitting his two sisters – who were sleeping on the top floor – as he chatted with friends downstairs.
The two sisters are believed to have locked themselves in the bedroom after smelling smoke and had to be rescued by Jamie and his pal Shane.
But, in a decision that almost cost them their lives, Jamie and Shane then ran back into the house to fetch valuables.
Mr Stedman, 33, said: ‘I heard a lot of commotion outside, girls screaming “fire, fire”. I just chucked on my coat and went across the road. The girls said “My brother is in there”.
‘They said Jamie was in there trying to get his mum’s stuff out. I went in. They were both choking and spluttering. They were covered in black dust.’
Mr Stedman grabbed both teenagers and led them outside.
But after a few minutes, Shane ran back into the house once again to fetch jewellery.
Mr Stedman said he went into the smoke-filled house and called Shane’s name 10 times until he saw the choking teenager walking towards him.
Both teenagers were taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Firefighters spent four hours tackling the blaze after being called out at about 11pm on Monday.
Mr Spencer, 19, said he tackled the fire with a hosepipe as he saw floors collapsing inside.
He said: ‘The house was obliterated at the back.’
Mr Stedman added: ‘It was the scariest thing I have ever seen. I didn’t know fire could spread that quickly.’
The family is now staying with relatives. They were not available to talk to The News. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.