A shocked resident returned to her home to find it ablaze just minutes after neighbours had led her poorly husband from the inferno.
Andrea Stokes, 61, of Avondale Road, Inkersall, near Staveley, had been walking her dog when she turned on to her road about 11.30am, today, Wednesday, September 18, and saw her semi-detached home ablaze and engulfed in smoke.
She said: “I came round the corner screaming and the neighbours grabbed me and told me my husband John was safe and had got out of the house.
“John, who is not well, had been in the dining room and had seen smoke and managed to get to the front door where neighbours grabbed him and led him to safety. I’m so grateful to them and the fire service. They have all been amazing.”
Staveley and Chesterfield firefighters had begun fighting the blaze as Andrea returned home and police controlled traffic along Avondale Road to keep others safe.
Fire crews battled the fierce ground and first floor blaze that had rapidly spread throughout property devouring everything in its path.
Derbyshire fire service group manager Bob Curry said: “The fire was fought from the front and back with main lines before six firefighters with breathing apparatus fought the blaze from inside.”
The fire was brought under control in 45 minutes and firefighters had to remove part of the roof to ensure there were no smouldering areas that could reignite.
An ambulance took John Stokes, who was suffering with smoke inhalation problems, to Chesterfield Royal Hospital as a precaution.
Derbyshire Fire service has also launched an investigation to establish the exact cause of the blaze.
Neighbour Janice Bendall said: “I originally spotted what I thought was steam coming from the house and it got worse and I shouted to a neighbour that it didn’t look right.
“We ran round and John Stokes had managed to open the front door of the house and my next door neighbour Ellen Jackson got him out and a man who had stopped in a car started to help. We took John across the road to another neighbour.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. There was thick, black smoke everywhere and the windows were breaking from the heat. I’m so grateful John wasn’t in bed because he would never have got out and he would have been killed.”
Group manager Bob Curry has urged residents to get in touch with Derbyshire fire service on 01332 771221 for advice and help in getting life-saving smoke alarms fitted to their properties.