'Please check your smoke alarms' - family lucky to escape blaze which 'gutted' their home
PUBLISHED: 10:04 30 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:53 30 June 2019
A family whose home was gutted by fire have said they are lucky to be alive and urged people to check their smoke detectors.
At around 8.30am on Friday, a fire broke out in the airing cupboard of the home in Ormesby St Margaret.
Four fire crews attended the scene to battle the blaze for between four and five hours, which left all their belongings destroyed by smoke and flames.
Steve Hardiman, 47, said it was "fortunate" the family managed to get out of the property in time.
"We have been told to expect a back to brick rebuild," he said. "The top floor is gutted and there is smoke and water damage throughout."
Mr Hardiman praised the "fantastic" fire service but urged everyone to check their smoke detectors after it emerged theirs had not been working.
"Fortunately no one was hurt but the ambulance service were there just in case," he said.
"The fire service were fantastic,
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"I could say professional but that in my mind would not do then enough justice.
"These guys and girls put their lives at risk every time they go out on a call and showed tremendous courage, professionalism, and yet we courteous and sympathetic to us at the same time."
He added busy parking on the street could have hindered the response from fire crews.
"We live on a street which gets very busy at school times and I would ask people when parking at anytime of the day to ensure you do not hamper a route which may be needed by our emergency services," he said.
"I would also beg people to go and check their smoke alarms are in good working order.
"I am ashamed to admit that ours were not and it was just through a series of fortunate events which allowed us to avoid injury or possibly worse."
The fire had been spotted when Mr Hardiman's son noticed smoke in the house.
He had been studying at home on a Friday for the first time in five or six months for his NHS apprenticeship.
"We have insurance so our possessions will be replaced over time but we feel so lucky to have our family which could never be replaced, so please go and check your alarms now," added Mr Hardiman.
Crews remained at the home for four to five hours as they battled the fire using ladders, hose reel jets and a thermal imaging camera.