Families' lucky fire escape

Firefighters are warning against lighting bonfires in back gardens after one got out of control and spread to houses in Banbury.

The flames spread to the houses on McKeever Place, just off the Middleton Road and near Banbury Train Station, at 6.30pm on Sunday 27 June 2010, just over an hour and a half after the England-Germany World Cup game ended.

While fire crews were called to 5 McKeever Place, the flames spread to the kitchen and first floor of No.1 McKeever Place and then to No.2.

Firefighters say a couple more minutes and people could have died, but luckily no-one was hurt.

Watch Manager Tim Cox said: "The occupants of this property were extremely lucky to escape without injury and indeed loss of life, as were the neighbours.

"Our initial call was to a bonfire, but as can be seen by the devastation, this got out of control very quickly and two minutes more there could have been fatalities.

"I would urge residents not to have bonfires in their back gardens and to take extra care when having BBQ’S and such in the hot weather."