A DALTON community is rallying round to help a young family whose house was devastated by fire.
Dannika Crosse, 24, returned home to find black smoke billowing from her semi-detached home and firefighters tackling the blaze.
Seconds earlier her babysitter and friend Sarah David made it to safety with her own five-year-old and Dannika’s two children, aged five and one.
And within hours of the blaze gutting the family’s home, donations of clothes and appliances were being offered and a fundraising event planned to help the family get back on their feet.
The blaze broke out at 3.30pm on Sunday at the semi-detached house in Melrose Close.
It is believed the fire spread from a candle which was in a glass holder on top of a fish tank in the living room which spread to the settee.
Sarah had been upstairs with the children, smelled smoke and got everyone out.
Dannika, who is now staying with her parents nearby, said: “I am just glad everyone got out safely thanks to Sarah. That’s all that matters.”
Yesterday the downstairs windows of her house were boarded up and charred remains could be seen in her garden.
Her neighbour Jodie McKerracher, 26, added: “It was frightening to see it go up like that. We had to get out in case it spread.
“We were out in the street for a few hours. It was awful.
“It is just so lucky that Sarah got them out. She deserves a medal.
“It just doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened.”
Meanwhile landlady of The Dalton pub, Beverley Gledhill and her daughter Jodie Oates are urging the community to support their fundraising efforts for the family.
Jodie said: “Everybody is willing to help Dannika and her family.
“She has been told she won’t be allowed back home for six months.”
The pub will host a fundraiser event on December 2 from midday and include games for children and a raffle.
She added: “She had all her Christmas presents wrapped and everything but all that really matters is that everyone is safe.
“We have already had donations of a cooker and two beds and want to help re-build their home.”
Anyone who wishes to donate raffle prizes, furniture or clothes should contact 07581 345551.