A YOUNG couple are lucky to be alive after a smoke alarm alerted them to a fire raging in their kitchen on Wednes-day morning.
Michael Shaw, 22, his girlfriend Kelly Taylor, 26, and their five children aged between one and 10 were asleep at home in Rich-mond Road, Accrington, when the inferno started.
Fire investigation officers are blaming an electrical fault in a washing machine.
Only last year, firefighters visited the couple to conduct a free safety check and they fitted two smoke alarms, one in the hallway and the other on the upstairs landing.
Although smoke had started to travel upstairs, it was only thanks to the two detectors that the family awoke.
Michael, who works at Jack Fulton's on Broadway, Accrington, heard the alarm first and dashed downstairs to investigate.
He said: "The alarm went off at about 7am so I dashed downstairs and opened the living room door. The room was full of smoke.
"I shut the door and ran back upstairs, shouting for everyone to wake up and get out. I didn't think about what was happening at the time. I just went into auto-pilot and made sure I got the kids out safely."
The family managed to escape uninjured but were left standing in the street in their nightclothes.
Michael called for the Fire Brigade on his mobile phone and a neighbour took them in while firefighters extinguished the flames.
Kelly, a cleaner and dinner lady at St Mary's Primary School, Oswaldtwistle, said: "Michael wasn't supposed to be sleeping here that night but he decided to stay. If he hadn't, we could have all been dead because it was him who heard the alarm."
The kitchen was gutted and all the appliances destroyed.
The living room, which was only decorated six weeks ago, has had to be stripped of wallpaper due to smoke damage.
Hyndburn Fire Station crew manager Phil Jones urged all homeowners to check their smoke detectors regularly or call for a free home safety check on 0800 169 1125.
He added: "Without the alarm we could have been dealing with a very serious fire investigation."
Kelly and Michael said they would like to thank the firefighters, the Red Cross volunteers who assisted on the morning and neighbours for their help.