NEIGHBOURS have described how a frightened family sought shelter after fleeing their burning home.
Terrence Clark, 72, and his wife Pamela, 70, looked after the family, who evacuated their house in Beverston Road, Paulsgrove, after a dishwasher caught fire at around 4.10am yesterday morning.
They offered them blankets and hot drinks while firefighters dealt with the blaze.
The alarm was raised by a 13-year-old boy in the house who heard the smoke alarm going off.
His heroics meant the family – a mum, three children and a friend – escaped without injury.
Mr Clark put his dressing gown on and went into the home before fire crews from Cosham arrived.
He said: ‘We heard banging at the door in the night and you think it’s one of your own children.
‘The mum was crying and said her house was on fire.
‘I went in and I’ve not seen anything like it before – I couldn’t see through the smoke in the kitchen.
‘The main thing was everyone was safe.’
Mrs Clark added: ‘I gave the children a blanket and a cup of tea. ‘They stayed with us until the fire brigade said they could go back in.
‘The mum was a bit upset and nervy but the children were ok.’
Firefighters used two sets of breathing apparatus and a hose reel to put out the flames, and used pressure ventilation to disperse the thick smoke.
It was put out in around 10 minutes and crews spent 20 minutes clearing up.
Cosham red watch manager Kevin Lloyd-Spencer praised the efforts of the 13-year-old boy.
He said: ‘The occupants had already been alerted thanks to a young lad, who heard the smoke alarm going off.
‘We found a severe fire in the kitchen, which was dealt with quickly, but if they didn’t have a smoke detector it could have been a different story, which is why everyone should have one.
‘There was severe damage to the kitchen and the ground floor was smoke logged. We were deployed and acted quickly.
‘Because of his prompt actions he managed to alert the fire to his family and get everyone out.
‘He did excellently.
‘From what we recommend and the lessons we teach they did exactly what was wanted of them. Without the prompt action of the smoke alarm and him doing his part, we could have been looking at casualties.’