A disabled man was woken by neighbours and helped to safety as the Newsome Mill fire raged just 20ft from his home.
Carmel Newton, her husband Steve and son Luke were woken by the inferno early today and immediately spotted the danger to bungalows near the fire.
They rushed from their home on Hillside Crescent to hammer on doors on Ing Lane to make sure people were awake.
Carmel, 55, said: “I know a disabled gentleman lives in one of the bungalows and we were really worried about him as the mill was completely ablaze from end to end.
“We managed to wake him, got him up and into his wheelchair and then covered him with a sheet as burning embers were falling everywhere.
“We feared a big bang at any moment – we didn’t know if the whole thing would collapse.
“When we got him to safety we realised that the embers had burned small holes in his trousers – it was unbelievably hot. The main thing is that everyone is OK.”
Newsome Mill fire by Josh Edwards
Eyewitness Trevor Sheldon from Primrose Hill said: “I woke up at 5am to what sounded like small fireworks, banging and cracking sounds and the roofline glowing across the street.
"You could see embers reaching high into the sky so I knew there was something happening out of the ordinary.
“Police, local residents and volunteers were evacuating as many people in the area as possible as golf ball sized embers rain down over a large area due to the high winds by the Hillside Primary School area.
“I drove up and I could see everyone, including disabled, being brought out into the streets for fear of secondary blazes as these embers are large enough to start new fires.”
There was a brilliant community spirit in the immediate aftermath of the blaze.
Newsome Village Store donated food and both Newsome Parish Church and Newsome scout hut opened with breakfast made and served there.
Newsome Village Store owner Mazhar Hussain said: “We are very much a community shop and so were only too glad to help. I just said to those wanting to provide the breakfasts to take what they needed which was mainly bread and tinned food.”
Newsome Scout leader Claire McCartney said: “Police led everyone to St John’s Church where they were given tea and coffee. The church didn’t have any facilities for making breakfast, so I decided to open up the scout hut.
“The Village Store were so kind and let us use bread and beans to serve breakfast. Everyone left at about 9.30am either to go home or return to the church if they were still unable to return to their homes.
“But we stuck around to give tea, coffee and food to some of the firefighters taking a quick break.”