Family in house blaze drama

A FAMILY have described how they watched in horror as flames ripped through the roof of their dream house.The Charlesworths, of Terrace Hall Chase, Great Horkesley, were forced to run for their lives after their pregnant dog and 11-year-old son raised the alarm.

A FAMILY have described how they watched in horror as flames ripped through the roof of their dream house.

The Charlesworths, of Terrace Hall Chase, Great Horkesley, were forced to run for their lives after their pregnant dog and 11-year-old son raised the alarm.

When Jilly, one of the family's two pet Labradors, started barking shortly before midnight on Sunday, 44-year-old Les Charlesworth's first reaction was to tell her to be quiet.

But moments later, his son Sam, crouching low to avoid smoke that was beginning to bellow near his bedroom, rushed to tell his mum and dad their two-year-old extension was on fire.

With his wife Amanda's help, Mr Charlesworth, who owns a building company, evacuated Sam and his other children, Louis, 12, and April, 10, from the burning building and called the fire service.

At first, firefighters were unable to find the 1930s house, tucked away off a main road, and Mrs Charlesworth, 32, had to chase them down the road in her car to try to alert them.

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She said: "When they arrived, they were brilliant. I'm just glad it's not worse – I think we got away really lightly when I think about it.

"We've been living here for about six years now and spent most of it listening to the sound of workmen.

"We've spent ages renovating this place. We only put the roof on the new conservatory, which is just below the extension, last week.

"We were all so pleased about it."

It is believed the fire began in a roof void around the edge of the house before starting to spread.

As builders set to work repairing the damage yesterday, Mr Charlesworth said there was a possibility that the extension itself could collapse.

He said: "We're putting up a scaffold tonight. I think it may have started because of an electrical fault. The whole top section of the roof may have to be rebuilt," he added.

Meanwhile, his smiling son Sam said: "It's good to be a hero".

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