LIVES were ‘changed forever’ as a devastating fire ripped through homes on the UK’s hottest day on record on Tuesday.
The fire, on Woodland Drive, Kingstone, began at 3.40pm and left four homes destroyed with two more badly damaged.
Andrea Parmenter, 50, who lives with partner Craig Bembrick, 47, in one of the damaged homes, was on her break at work at Capita in Wath-upon-Dearne when she heard of the incident.
At the scene on Wednesday, she told the Chronicle: “I came on the afternoon of the fire but it was all cordoned off.
“It’s devastating but we are luckier than some.
“Some are completely destroyed, but I’m hoping something is salvageable.
“Craig doesn’t have anything to wear except what he’s standing in. “They’ve said it’s a crime scene so we aren’t allowed in.”
Craig was at home on the sofa – asleep – when the blaze started.
The cause of the fire has been deemed accidental, with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue declaring a major incident on Tuesday due to the demand placed onto its staff who were dealing with multiple fires across the county.
Another resident, who wished to remain anonymous, added: “I was working from home and heard a woman screaming – she was hysterical, she had her dog with her.
“There were kids everywhere so at first I thought it was just some shouting in the street, but then I looked out of the window and saw the flames.
“I made sure I got my family out – I had my granddaughter with me.
“Smoke started coming over to my house, I helped my elderly neighbours get out.
“It was shocking as the wind whipped it up, it took hold so quickly and we just had to stand and watch it happen.
“It was devastating and lives have changed forever.”
As the fire began to spread, neighbours were quick to help the best they could before the fire service arrived.
Resident Jason Saville, 48, was sat in his garden when the fire began.
He quickly began removing adjacent wooden fencing panels in an attempt to reduce the spread, and joined with other neighbours and used their hose pipes to tackle the flames.
He said: “I was up on the roof, everyone was out with their hose pipes.
“The fire brigade didn’t come for an hour so within 20 minutes the houses were burnt to smithereens.
“I was in shock. There was no way they were getting it under control.
“All the estate could’ve gone up. The police told me to go but I refused until they had to walk me out.
“Why didn’t we have just one fire engine in the borough? They were helping other districts and leaving Barnsley.”