Family loses everything in house fire

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A family returned home to find their home in Pontefract gutted, just six days before Christmas.

The family of six were out when the fire started in their Victorian terrace on Wakefield Road, close to the junction with St Bernard’s Avenue, last night.

Fire crews said heat from a log burning stove had set fire to logs piled up next to it, resulting in the house being gutted.

The family have lost all their possessions, including Christmas presents but perhaps the worst loss of all was the family cat, found curled up behind the front door.

Green watch commander Chris Shaw, from Pontefract Fire Station, said it was a warning for others to be wary.

He said: “They had piled up logs next to the log burner and that obviously looks very nice at Christmas but these things get really hot. The family were not in at the time of the fire but there were no smoke alarms in the house, which meant it was burning for a long time.

“When we arrived, there were flames coming out the back of the house, the conservatory had melted, the ceilings inside had collapsed, the Christmas tree and presents were gone and the family cat was behind the front door, dead from smoke inhalation. Had smoke alarms been fitted, it is possible neighbours may have alerted us earlier.”

He added: “It was a sad sight to see all that go just before Christmas, downstairs was gutted and upstairs was heavily smoke logged.”

He said the two members of the family had discovered the fire upon returning home about 7.45pm and had rightly closed the door after seeing thick black smoke. It is understood the family consists of a mother, father and four children.

No-one was injured in the fire.

Watch Commander Shaw urged people to fit smoke alarms and not leave combustible material near fires or to leave fires on and unattended.