A TERRIFIED family today told how they had a lucky escape after a blaze broke out in their home.
Bob and Joan Morris were forced to flee to safety after smoke engulfed their Hetton house.
The pair, of Crossgate Road, Hetton, were asleep in the property, along with son Jason, 41, who was staying over for the evening.
As reported in the Echo yesterday, it is believed an electrical fault in a freezer caused the blaze, which has left part of the kitchen destroyed.
Mr and Mrs Morris, their son and dog Snoop can count themselves even luckier as their working smoke alarm didn’t sense the appliance was alight.
Mrs Morris, 65, said: “We don’t know why it didn’t go off and neither do the firemen.
“One of them tested it to see if it was working and of course it was.
“My husband got up and went to the toilet and that’s when I heard him coughing. He was coughing so much, I thought he was going to have a heart attack.
“Then he went downstairs for a drink and he saw all the thick black smoke.
“The bedrooms are not too bad, but we’re just trying to air all the smoke out now.”
Fire officers from Sunderland South fire station, at Rainton Bridge, praised the Morris family for closing doors in the house before going to bed and having a contingency plan in case of a fire.
Mrs Morris said: “My son Jason has a real phobia about leaving plugs in, but obviously you can’t unplug a freezer.”
Mr and Mrs Morris said they would like to thank the fire service for arriving quickly and dealing with the blaze.
They also added that they would like to thank neighbours who got out of bed to see if they needed help.
“They were excellent,” said Mrs Morris.
Insurance investigators were today hoping to determine the exact cause of the fire at property.
The incident happened at about 3.20am yesterday morning.