A quick thinking farmer rescued an 18-year-old woman and her 14-month old son from a fire which destroyed their Staffordshire home.
The teenage mum and her son were oblivious to the blaze sweeping through their Milwich home when their neighbour smelt and saw smoke issuing from the rear of the building and burst in on Friday afternoon.
"If it wasn't for the quick thinking and awareness of the farmer this could have ended in tragedy with lives being lost."
Stan Cooper, Station Manager
The smoke alarm had activated within the home but the occupier could not hear it.
Firefighters attending the incident could not gain direct access to the building because of the intense heat and total smoke logging of the premises.
Station Manager for Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Stan Cooper, said the blaze started because wooden logs placed on the open guarded fire, had ignited a fabric settee which was in close proximity.
"With the cold weather of recent weeks they had been constantly stacking the open fire with wood to keep the home warm," said Stan.
He added the fire spread quickly, setting fire to the open staircase wooden panelling and wooden beams, while the woman and her son were in another room with the doors shut.
"Upon seeing smoke, the farmer's son, who was outside his own property across the road, ran into the house and got the woman and the boy out. When fire crews arrived he was also able to indicate the location of the fire hydrant which had been covered by snow and ice, obscuring it's location.
"The fire within the lounge area was so intense, the firefighters initially sent into the building to extinguish the blaze had to be withdrawn as the visibility was zero.
"Instead we used ladders to gain access through upstairs windows, as the internal staircase had burnt away completely."
Two appliances from Stone and one from Stafford attended the incident at 4.10pm. Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using two hose reel jet extinguished the flames.
"This highlights the very real dangers of open fires if they are not used properly," added Stan.
"Furniture and other flammable items should be kept as far away from them as possible. Always have a close meshed fire guard in place.
"If there are young children in the house, this should be secured around the fireplace at all times."
Remarkably the young woman and her son were not injured in the incident nor did they suffer any effects from the fire or smoke.
Stan said: "If it wasn't for the quick thinking and awareness of the farmer this could have ended in tragedy with lives being lost.
"All persons living in remote locations should make themselves aware of the location of fire hydrants normally indicated by a yellow metal plate as in emergencies the sooner water supplies are located, firefighters can mitigate the effects of fire.
"The home has been very badly damaged by the fire but it could have been much worse."
The incident closed at 5.33pm.