SHOCKED neighbours have told of their concerns for a family made homeless by a fire just days before Christmas.
A mum, named only as Paula by neighbours, and her two children lost eight pets which were killed in the blaze in Broomhouse Lane, Edlington.
Firefighters say the blaze was caused by a cooker ring which had been left on and ignited a pan and cardboard nearby.
The family had been shopping when the fire started, but returned to find the house heavily smoke- logged.
Firefighters from Doncaster and Adwick fire stations were called on Wednesday, at about 7.30pm, to put out the blaze at the St. Leger Homes property. Two dogs, two rabbits and four cats were found to have died, although firefighters managed to save two other cats.
Crews say the house, which did not have working smoke alarms, has been so seriously damaged by smoke that the family are unlikely to be able to return to it.
The family are now believed to be staying with relatives.
Neighbours Frank and Valerie Oliver told how the family turned up on their doorstep after arriving home to discover the fire.
Frank said: “She had come home from doing some shopping with the children.
“The first thing we knew, they were knocking on the door telling us the house was on fire.
“Paula said they could not get into the house because of the amount of smoke that was there. She was in a panic. The children were hysterical because of the animals.”
Valerie said: “It has also been upsetting because we’ve seen her bringing in things for Christmas over the last few weeks.
“She is such a good neighbour who does anything for her children.”
Sharon Holland, another neighbour, said: “It is terrible for something like this to happen, and so close to Christmas. “I feel so sorry for them.
“I love them as neighbours and the children are marvellous. I just want to tell them how sorry we are for them.”
Judith Jones, St Leger deputy chief executive, said the organisation would be trying to help the family.
She said: “We have spoken to the family and will be working with them to establish what help and support they need in light of the fire.
“Our repairs staff have boarded up the property to make it secure and will be visiting the site again to establish what repairs need carrying out.”