A DAD suffered serious burns to his face and hands after the home he shares with his young family caught fire.
The 28-year-old, named by neighbours as Dean Day, was found by police outside his blazing home in Dunelm Walk, Peterlee.
The fire service received several calls from concerned residents, who spotted smoke billowing from the roof at about 1.20pm yesterday.
He was taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital along with his 26-year-old partner, named locally as Hayley Evans, who suffered smoke inhalation.
The couple live in the rented, semi-detached home with their two sons, who were at primary school when the fire broke out upstairs.
Firefighters called for back-up, with a crew from Durham and an aerial ladder platform also attending the scene.
They used jets to put out the fire, which broke through the roof and created smoke which could be seen from the A19.
Essington Way was cordoned off by police and traffic diverted while firefighters spent more than two hours dealing with the incident.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze has now been launched by the police and fire service.
Paul Knox, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue’s district manager for East Durham, said: “When we arrived, it was confirmed a gentleman suffered substantial burns and has been transferred to hospital.
“More than six officers wearing breathing apparatus went in. The fire had gone through the roof.
“The crews must be praised. They’ve done an excellent job in difficult circumstances.
“Apart from the ceiling and the roof, it’s not too badly damaged, which is astonishing.”
Two dogs, which were kept in compounds in the back garden, were not harmed by the fire.
Karen Nord, 44, was in her house in Basingstoke Road, opposite Dunelm Walk, with daughter Kayleigh Young, 23, when they spotted the smoke.
“We were just sat in here and heard a bang, but we didn’t take much notice because the council are working on the houses round here,” said Karen.
“Then I saw the smoke coming from the roof.
“We phoned the fire brigade and ran straight over.
“The police car pulled up with two women in it and asked if there was anyone in there, but they were already out.”