Five flee early morning blaze

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A Burnley family had a lucky escape after fire ripped through their home, completely destroying an outhouse and badly damaging the kitchen.

The blaze broke out at 2-39am on Thursday in a tumble dryer at the house in Little Tom’s Lane, Lanehead. Rickie Hexham (43) and his wife Diane (39), who were in bed, were alerted to the fire after the electricity supply went off. When Mr Hexham went downstairs to investigate, he heard his disabled daughter Hayley (21) shouting “fire.” He realised the outhouse and kitchen were on fire and got Diane, Hayley, his younger daughter Lauren (16) and her boyfriend Robbie Halliday out of the house. They also managed to rescue their dogs, shih tzus Georgia, Suzie, and Layla and whippet-cross Molly. Neighbours called 999 and two fire crews tackled the blaze. Luckily the flames did not spread further inside the house, although neighbours living in the house next door had to be evacuated. Firefighters also rescued the family’s pet parrot Mika.

The kitchen at the house in Little Tom's Lane which was badly damaged by fire (s)

The kitchen at the house in Little Tom's Lane which was badly damaged by fire (s)

Mr Hexham, who is Hayley’s carer, said: “My dogs had started barking and there was a glow at the back. I opened the kitchen door and at that point it was filled with smoke then I got everybody out.

“Hayley was right above it. She was really brave. Everyone’s all right and that’s all that matters.”

Diane, who took her family to spend the night with friends, added: “I think I’m still a bit shell shocked.”

Yesterday maintenance workers were at the house, owned by housing association Accent North-West, to try and install a temporary power supply but Mr Hexham said it may be two weeks before they are able to move back in. Watch manager Neil Ashworth, from Burnley fire station, said: “It could’ve been much more serious. Washers, dryers etc. should not be left on unattended especially at night when people are in bed.”