A FAMILY have told of their dramatic escape from a blaze at their home.
Wendy Barton, 33, was able to get her three sons and their friend safely outside after a fire broke out under the stairs at the house in Meadoway, Church.
She was taken to Blackburn Royal Infirmary suffering from smoke inhalation after the blaze, which started at about 9.30pm on Tuesday, but the youngsters escaped unscathed.
Wendy was upstairs, watching Lee, 13, and Scott, eight, play on the computer with their friend from next door, and seven-year-old Ben, who suffers from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, was in bed.
Wendy said: "We could smell smoke but we didn't know where it was coming from. Lee went downstairs, opened the door to the cupboard under the stairs and there was a blazing fire.
"I was standing on the stairs and took the full belt of the smoke right in my face. I shouted to the kids and managed to get them out before getting out myself.
"I ran next door to phone the Fire Brigade and then I came back in with my neighbours and we threw some water on the fire to try to dampen the flames.
"The boys were quite calm and I got them out as quickly as I possibly could.
"While they were running down the stairs I was trying to douse the flames but I was scared of the stairs falling through or the gas meter going up.
"A lot of the neighbours came out to see if we were OK."
The family stayed with their neighbours overnight and returned home the following morning to survey the damage.
The cupboard and its contents were destroyed and there was smoke damage to the hallway.
Wendy said: "Ben's bike was under there, along with a couple of pogo sticks and a suitcase, and there is quite a mess with the soot on the floor."
Fire crews used breathing apparatus and a ventilation unit to tackle the blaze and paramedics also attended the scene.