NEIGHBOURS have been hailed heroes for saving a disabled man from a ferocious fire.

Barbara Watts was tending the garden of her home in Winsford with Jessica Preston, 17, who lived next door when they suddenly heard the teen's sister Libby, 12 crying for help.

A fire had broken out in the bedroom of the neighbouring property on Ford Court.

"We heard Libby screaming," said Barbara, 63. "Jessica pulled her out of a window and went back in for their two dogs."

Barbara ran into her home to rescue husband Fred, 63, who was trapped upstairs.

Winsford Guardian:

The gutted remains of the neighbouring property destroyed by an electrical fire

"I was trying but he's no good on his legs. Then Jay, who lives nearby and two men I don't know got Fred onto the stair lift. By this time the fire brigade were helping.

"They were wonderful. They saved my husband's life."

The fire on May 4 was caused by an electrical fault and gutted both properties.

"It spread through their roof into ours very quickly," said Barbara, who managed to rescue her two cats Rosie and Smokie. "Their bedroom and bathroom windows just blew out like an explosion with the heat of the fire.

"We got a lot more smoke and an awful lot of water damage."

Winsford Guardian:

The fire spread rapidly through the neighbouring roof into Barbara and Fred's home

Fred, a retired head groundsman at Knights Grange sports complex, was taken to Leighton Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

"He got several chest infections and was in hospital for 11 days. He is now in a care home but because of coronavirus restrictions I haven't been able to see him for four weeks."

The couple, who had lived in their home for 43 years, lost everything.

"It has been horrendous," said Barbara, who used to work at Marks & Spencer in Northwich. "The firemen managed to save our wedding photograph."

Barbara is staying with her sister Jean in Middlewich, whilst waiting for insurers to find accommodation.

"All we need is a temporary home we can go to for the next six months while they rebuild our house."

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Next door neighbour mum-of-two Claire Reid left her home to run an errand when the fire, involving an extension lead, ripped through the bedroom of her Ford Court property.

Claire is now speaking out to warn others to be wary when using electrical appliances.

"“I got a phone call from my neighbour who said that the house was on fire, I had just nipped out so I rushed back and saw the firefighters on scene.

“The smoke alarms sounded and my eldest daughter rescued the younger one from the house.

“I really couldn’t believe it. I am so grateful to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service for turning up as quickly as they could.”

Winsford Guardian:

Claire Reid, left, with daughter Jessica and lead advocate Suzanne West from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service