Update: Mother and baby escape Bideford house blaze

Eyewitness alerted neighbour and helped avert disaster.

A MOTHER and her sleeping baby made a miraculous escape after a neighbour alerted them to flames coming through their roof.

The house in Old Barnstaple Road, Bideford, was devastated by the blaze which nine fire engines fought to control for more than 12 hours through Friday night.

Don Adams, whose house is joined to the semi-detached property, went to check on the occupants of the house when he saw smoke coming from their roof.

Mr Adams said: “The decorators working on my house spotted the smoke at first and of course we went straight round to make sure the occupants got out OK.

“There was a woman and a baby in the house and they got out right away, but with the wind being so strong the flames spread fast.

“It all happened so quickly that it’s all a bit of a blur, you find yourself just not thinking.”

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The fire, which was reported just after 3pm, severely damaged the two floors of the house, gutting the property and blazing through the roof.

Thick smoke could be seen from afar as crews fought to control the fire and protect the property next door.

The three engines from Bideford, Appledore and Torrington that were initially scrambled sent for further assistance from Barnstaple, Hartland and Hatherleigh, as well as an incident command unit from Ilfracombe and an aerial platform and water foam carrier from Barnstaple.

At 4.45pm, two more fire crews from Braunton and Okehampton were also called to assist, and at midnight further relief crews were called.

Neil Blackburn, Group Commander for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue, said: “We worked through the night dampening down the property, and the crews were very successful in preventing the fire from spreading to the adjoining property.”

Investigators are looking at a number of possible causes, including a bonfire.

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