A community has rallied round after two families were left without a roof over their heads when a blaze ripped through their homes on Saturday.
The fire is believed to have started just before midday in a garden shed behind the semi-detached home of Dave Brown and Carol Mills-Joslin on Pointon Road in Billingborough.
The flames rapidly spread and destroyed an adjacent caravan and a second shed before leaping to their conservatory, into the roof and upstairs of their house, causing the roof to cave in.
It also spread to the roof and first-floor of the adjoining home of Aggie Prue and her six-year-old son, who were out at the time, before firefighters could halt the flames.
According to Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, six crews from Billingborough, Donington, Grantham, Bourne, Sleaford, Spalding and the aerial ladder platform from Boston were involved in tackling the fire.
The British Red Cross Emergency Response Team was also on the scene.
A fire service spokesman said three cats, eight rats and one parrot were rescued, but one of Dave and Carol’s cats, a seven-year-old black and white one called Mojo, was still unaccounted for.
The fire service said the cause of the blaze was ‘unattended hot embers from a wood burning stove at the exterior of the property’.
Dave and Carol say they are devastated but have been really grateful for all the offers of help from the community.
Dave, 42, said: “Our dog barked. Then Shane, a fireman who lives across the road, shouted that our shed was on fire. A friend, Michael, helped us get both cars off the driveway, otherwise we would have lost them too.”
Meanwhile Carol, 56, harnessed up their six traumatised dogs with the help of neighbour Judith Bee and bundled them into Judith’s Land Rover for safety.
Dave said he dashed into the house to scoop up their other pets, including four ferrets, rats and cats with the help of neighbours. He said: “By that time is was not good, I was getting choked with the smoke but we got our parrot out. A fireman got one cat and the rest bolted.”
The couple have lived there for 11 years and say they have lost ‘everything’. Various people have taken in their pets, including the New York Ferret Rescue and local dog trainer Lucy Heath is putting them and their dogs and cats up for a few days. The blackened animals have had to be cleaned to remove the soot from the fire.
“I would not want to live anywhere else - the community have been fantastic,” said Dave.
Carol added: “At the end of the day we are all alive, but it is just the shock. There were so many people helping us, we are so grateful to everyone and the offers of help for anything we need.”
Their neighbour Aggie was on her way to Peterborough when she got the call from a neighbour about the fire.
Her dog was rescued but she says she has lost everything stored in her loft and the community have been donating items including storage boxes to gather belongings after the fire, although many have been lost including her sons toys.