A COMMUNITY is rallying around to help a family-of-six left with nothing after fire tore through their home.

A faulty bedroom lamp is being blamed for the ferocious blaze at the house in Sacriston, near Durham, where Michael and Donna Anderson, both 37, lived with their four children.

The alarm was raised by neighbour, Albert Hockaday, 86, who saw smoke coming from the roof of the Acorn Close house at around 9am on Tuesday.

The Northern Echo: DAMAGED: The aftermath of the fire. PICTURE: GAVIN HAVERY

DAMAGED: The aftermath of the fire. PICTURE: GAVIN HAVERY

He said: “You could see the smoke and the flames licking up to the window. All of a sudden the window blew out. When the air got to it, that was it.”

The couple, their son, Rhys, an 18-year-old student, and three daughters, Ruby, 15, Beth 13, and Lily, ten, were out at the time.

Their next-door neighbour risked his life entering the house to save Archie, a six year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Mr Anderson, who works as a garage manager, said: “We are all devastated, of course, but we have just got to deal with it. Everyone is chipping in to help.”

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was being treated as accidental.

The family have lived in the property for around ten years and have been put up at a Premier Inn hotel by a friend to help them get back on their feet.

Mrs Anderson, a welfare assistant at Durham Trinity School, where her youngest daughter is a pupil, left work immediately after hearing her house was on fire.

She said: “It is awful. My children have lost everything. There are sentimental things like jewellery, which cannot be replaced, but we know that this could have been much worse.

“The fire started right next to Ruby’s bed. It could have been at 2am in the morning. It could have been a different story.”

Several campaigns are now underway to help the family get back on their feet with people supplying clothes, toiletries, toys and money for essentials.

Sacriston Youth Project has set up a Just Giving by text page. To help, text SYPK44 followed by the amount, it can be anything over £1, to 70070.

Items can be dropped off at The Jubilee Cafe in The Fulforth Centre between 9am and 5pm this week.

People have even offered to buy gifts for Ruby, who turned 15 on Monday and lost her presents in the fire.

Mrs Anderson said: “The support has been overwhelming, from people we don’t know. I cannot believe how kind everyone has been. It has been amazing.”