Members of a Sheffield family are re-building their lives today thanks to the generosity of Sheffield residents.
Julie Mills, her daughter Demi Clayton, 22 and grandchildren Izak, Suhail, Cheyenne and Elijah were all asleep when a fire broke out in the family home on Fairthorn Road, Firth Park.
Demi, a mum-of-two, woke up to the smell of smoke and discovered the kitchen alight.
Plumes of thick black smoke quickly filled the house as the terrified young mum raced upstairs to wake her mum, two sons, niece and nephew.
The uninsured family managed to escape and raise the alarm, but everything in their home was destroyed by smoke and soot.
Family kitten Elsa, who only joined the household that day, had been left in the kitchen overnight with the door closed to keep her in one room.
Firefighters said the decision to close the door was lifesaving.
Julie’s sister Diane Knell, from Chapeltown, used a Facebook page she runs for Sheffield residents to swap ‘favours’ to highlight the plight of her relatives.
It was discussed on social media networks and the family has now been inundated with offers of help - including donations of furniture, clothing, bedding, curtains, toys, food and cash.
Julie, who moved into temporary council accommodation in Shiregreen yesterday, said: “I just kept thinking of what could have happened. It could have been so much worse.
“There was just thick smoke everywhere so I am so grateful we all got out alive.”
Her daughter Demi, a full-time, mum, said: “I was just thinking ‘get the kids out’. I have always been paranoid about fires so I have always had a plan on what to do but I didn’t do anything I thought I would, I just wanted to get the kids out.
“Mum hadn’t wanted me to bring the kitten home, but we are all so grateful I did now because if the kitchen door hadn’t have been closed I don’t want to think what might have happened.”