A COUPLE have been hailed heroes after saving seven children from a ferocious house fire.

Fourteen members of the Moore family were enjoying a gathering in Blackhill Consett, County Durham, when a blaze broke out in the garage.

Quick-thinking Michaela Moore and her partner, Tim Brice, both 30, scooped up their sons, nieces and nephews, including twin three-month-old babies, and led them to safety.

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Ms Moore said: “My sister came in screaming that there was a fire and for us all to get out.

“I took all of the little kids out through the back. But I did not know who else was left in the house. It was very scary.”

Kira Moore, 14, was upstairs and, as the fire, thought to have started after a tumble dryer overheated, took hold, she had to climb through a window.

Mr Brice climbed up to the ledge to help her and after he jumped back into the garden she managed to hang down and drop to safety.

Mr Brice said: “Everyone was screaming. I was telling her to jump, but she was too scared. I climbed up to the ledge. Then the dog came out so I got back down to lock it in a play house. As I was pulling a trampoline over for her to jump on to she hung down and dropped.”

The alarm was raised at just before 1.45pm today (Tuesday, May 27) by 46-year-old Wayne Moore, who lives at the house on Pemberton Road, with his wife, Rachel, 35. He had heard Tonka, the Staffordshire bull terrier barking.

Agonisingly, while the younger children were whisked to safety, Michaela Moore had no idea whether her sister, brother-in-law and two older nephews, Shane 17, and 15-year-old Daryhs were still inside.

Michaela, who took the baby twins, Lola and Leon, TJ, four, Ernesto, eight, CJ, also eight, Madison, 12, Kira, 15, and Coral, 20, to her house on nearby Chaytor Road, said: “As far as I knew they were still inside. I was very scared for them.

“It was only when I went round the front of the house that I knew they were safe. It was such a relief.”

Pemberton Road was cordoned off by police while 20 firefighters from four fire engines tackled the blaze.

Wayne Moore was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, but no-one else was injured.

The house, which did not have smoke alarms, has been severely damaged by fire and County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s District Manager Ken Ball said it shows how important it is to have them fitted.

He praised Ms Moore and Mr Brice for getting the children to safety so quickly.

Mr Ball said: “They took the initial action in getting people out and obviously they have done a great job. They did very well.

“It was a ferocious, heavily involved fire and it was heavily smoke-logged.

“They did exactly what they are meant to do. They got themselves out and then they got us out. It was excellent and did help us.”

As well as getting the flames and smoke under control, firefighters rescued two cats and the family’s bearded dragons from the house.

Members of the Moore family, who lived in the property, will be staying with relatives until permanent accommodation can be arranged.

Debbie Moore, Rachel’s mother, great grandmother to the baby twins, who lives at Moorside, and was not in the house when the fire broke out said: “Everyone is alright and that is the main thing. We can always replace property, but not lives.”