A Sheffield man is ‘lucky to be alive’ after neighbours woke to the smell of smoke and realised the house next door was on fire.
Chris Jones was heard groaning by worried neighbours who gathered outside his home on Willoughby Street, Page Hall, as they waited for fire engines to arrive yesterday, at about 5am.
Flames were shooting out of the back of his house and the windows had cracked.
Basirat Onasanya, a mum-of-three, first noticed the smell of smoke from the terraced house next door.
She got her children outside and started banging on neighbouring doors to alert other residents to the blaze while her daughter called the fire service.
Firefighters who entered the burning home found the kitchen alight and the rest of the house full of smoke.
They found Mr Jones, who was suffering from severe smoke inhalation, in a bedroom and carried him outside to paramedics.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is under way, but an electrical fault is believed to be responsible.
Firefighters established that smoke alarms had been fitted in the property in the past, but had been taken down.
Mr Jones’ husky dog, Prince, died in the blaze.
His cats and a litter of kittens managed to escape.
Mrs Onasanya said: “I woke to the smell of smoke and searched around my house wondering where it was coming from and then realised it was next door.
“When I went outside I could see flames and heard groans from inside the house.
“There are two children who live there too, so we were anxious that they might have been inside, but luckily they were elsewhere that night.
“It was worrying thinking all the homes could have caught fire, which is why I tried to wake people up.”
Station manager Trevor Bernard, who led the firefighting operation, said: “This man should put a Lottery ticket on this week – he will never be as lucky again.
“We can’t stress enough the importance of smoke alarms.”