Witnesses to a house fire in Thornwood have described the "frightening" events of this afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the fire in Rowley Mead at 1.15pm. The flames had already taken hold of the house with both floors severely damaged and the roof destroyed. The two neighbouring houses had suffered smoke damage.

Martin Walker, 54 of one of the neighbouring houses said: “Smoke was billowing out. We were off work so were having a late lie in, we heard a massive bang and looked out our bedroom window, saw the smoke so got dressed quickly and rushed out.

"It looked like it was coming out of the main bedroom. We couldn’t believe how quickly the fire took hold. My wife was petrified.”

Simon Price, 45 who lives opposite the house, also witnessed the events unfold.

He said: “I heard a loud bang and saw smoke coming from the roof of the house. I quickly ran round to the house to try and help.

"I got to the back of the house but when I saw the flames coming from the top bedroom, I knew I couldn’t do anything.

“The woman inside of the house had come outside with her dog after she smelt smoke. She accidently locked herself out, but really it was lucky she did that, otherwise she might have gone back in.”

Julia Houghton, another neighbour, added: "We could smell the smoke and saw the young lady running across the road with her dog. There was so much smoke and a great deal of flames out the back of the house."

"The windows started breaking and I was dead scared, it was very frightening."
Other members of the neighbourhood worked together to help the affected families move their belongings from the houses.

Iris Smith, 72 also of Rowley Meade, said: “It is terrible what has happened but Thornwood is a really close community, we have all come together. Everybody has made tea for one another. I’ll have to search for all my mugs.”

Investigations into the cause of the fire are on-going.