NEIGHBOURS on a quiet residential estate cul-de-sac in Trefnant that typically keep themselves to themselves have banded together to help a family after their home was devastated by a fire that put a young woman's life in danger.

Amanda Turner, mother of three, left her 16-year-old daughter at home with their puppy to get fish and chips on Saturday (December 29) night.

When out, she received a call from her daughter, Jenny, to say the house was on fire.

"I couldn't believe it," Amanda said. "I told Jenny, don't be stupid."

The roof of their home was destroyed by the fire.

She returned to find the house engulfed in flames, Jenny outside wrapped in one neighbour's blanket and the dog, a chocolate Labrador aged just six months, nowhere to be seen.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service had been called to the property on Ffordd Cae Canol by another neighbour and arrived soon after with three crews, from Denbigh, Ruthin and Rhyl at 4.51pm.

"They didn't take long to get here, but it felt like an age, waiting while your house is burning down," Amanda said.

The fire crews spent four hours at the house, with two engines flooding the back of the house with water - where their holiday alcohol was stored and had exploded - while the single mum, whose two sons Allan, 18 and Tom, 21, were out at the time, was in a state of shock.

"It's something you don't even think about," she said.

"All of our belongings were in there - and items like old photo albums. My children's school work has gone too.

"Now all we have are the clothes we stand up in."

Two fire engines flooded the back of the house with water for about an hour

Inside the house

The situation could have been worse, however. Before she was aware of the fire, Jenny had planned to go upstairs to get ready for a night out with her friends and, had she done, she might not have been able to leave the building.

"I had been asleep not long before," Jenny said.

"I was in the living room and turned my head to see a massive fire. I ran out and went straight to the neighbours to tell them to go outside.

"I was about to go upstairs to get ready to go out - the firemen said if anyone was upstairs they wouldn't have made it," she said.

But the kind-heartedness of neighbours in the village near Denbigh has helped the family pull through, at a time when most are celebrating on the back of Christmas as New Year's Eve approaches.

They soon began collecting money to help the family buy basic items such as toiletries and food, and gave clothes for them to wear in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the puppy, Opal, was found with the neighbour of Amanda's mother who lives 10 minutes down the road.

"We are so grateful for the help of all the neighbours. Usually we keep ourselves to ourselves but when the fire happened everyone rushed to help.

"We can't thank them enough."

In a Christmas miracle amidst the devastation within the house, Jenny's pet fish were found alive in their glass bowl which offered some relief when the fire service inspected the damage the morning after.

Jenny's bedroom, where the fish were found swimming in their glass bowl after witnessing the fire from the inside

"I couldn't believe it," Jenny said. "I don't know how they survived."

Amanda also had huge praise for the fire service, who have been "amazing".

"They stayed for four hours to put the fire out and came back in the morning to inspect the scene. They helped us retrieve items like our photo book, which is completely charred, but they tried."

The fire service is currently investigating the cause of the fire.

Amanda and the children will leave their home of six years to stay with her mum into the New Year.

Alec Fletcher, father-of-one, was one of the neighbours that called the fire service after his son saw the fire, and acted to help the family start their journey to recovery. He said: "A kitty was started on the street and donated Christmas things like wine and chocolate to help them feel Christmassy.

"They would have lost their presents in the fire."

The children lost their school work, including personal art work.

Llinos Burges, mum-of-two, is the neighbour who started the kitty. She said: "I felt so sorry for the family, they have lost everything.

"I started a money box and my two sons, Jac and Cayan, also gave their pocket money to Jenny.

"It is a quiet neighbourhood but this shows that when the cookie crumbles we all come together."

The family will stay with their grandmother until the New Year

Justin Evans, head of community safety for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said the incident is an ideal example of the community and fire service working together to ensure nobody is harmed by a fire, which can "mean the difference between life and death". He said: “The best advice we can give to residents confronted with a fire in their home is to get out, stay out and call us out – do not try and tackle the fire yourself.

“I feel it’s important to highlight how the actions of residents upon discovering a fire can mean the difference between life and death – once she was alerted to the fire, this woman left the property immediately and called 999.

"Although this was a serious fire, she was able to escape unharmed."