A family has thanked the community who rallied to help them after a devastating fire destroyed their home and all their belongings.
The fire broke out at the semi-detached home in New Estate, Swinstead, at about 8.30am on Monday morning.
The family of six were woken by the blaze and the courageous dad managed to get his four children and his wife, who is 23-weeks pregnant, out of the blazing building.
The dad asked not to be named but contacted the Mercury this week to thank his neighbours Mark and Clare Warren, who not only took in the family on the day of the blaze but launched an appeal on Facebook asking for donations to help the family.
The blaze, which firefighters said had started accidentally, completely destroyed the house and roof, leaving the floors inside unstable; and left the family with only the pyjamas they were wearing at the time. The children are aged five, three, two and 10-months.
The dad said: “My little boy woke me up and said: ‘Daddy, the walls are on fire’. The flames were coming out of the airing cupboard. I just grabbed my two boys and my wife and got them out before I ran back in for my two little girls.
“I had to smash a bedroom door down and there were flames all over the walls.”
All six were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and the father said he was “singed.”
But he added: “That’s the least of my worries. We are all lucky to be alive. It could have been worse.”
One of the family’s pet cats had to be rescued by firefighters after it ran back into the burning building.
The property was council-owned and the family, who had only lived there since March, are now in a hotel while they wait to be rehomed. A spokesman for SKDC said: “Alternative accommodation has been provided for the family and we continue to support them as fully as possible.”
Mr and Mrs Warren, who have four children of their own, spotted the blaze take hold and Mr Warren rushed to help but by that time, there was little they could do. Fire crews from across the area, including Stamford, Bourne and Grantham, attended.
Mrs Warren said she kept the shocked family “in tea and toast”, while their home was alight. After they left to go to the hotel, Mr and Mrs Warren’s attentions turned to trying to help out in a different way.
They appealed for help on Facebook and by the end of the day on Monday had collected more than 10 bags of clothes and toys.
Mrs Warren said: “It’s not a very nice thing to happen and you just can’t imagine being left with nothing. We don’t know them that well but we just hoped people would help us if we were in the same position.”
Donations for the family came from nearby Corby Glen, as well as Stamford, Bourne, the Deepings and Grantham.
The father said he’d also been helped by a charity in Grantham, which provided clothes and nappies.
He said: “Lots of people have offered to help us - it’s been quite overwhelming. I’m for grateful in particular for everything Clare and Mark have done, it’s nice to know people care and are willing to help.”