A family-of-six has been left homeless after a fire ripped through their home, completely destroying it just weeks before Christmas.
Dad Steven Davison, from Farndon, said the family had just gone to bed when they were woken by their fire alarms blaring.
It’s believed the fire started from the family’s washing machine.
Firefighters were dispatched at around 11.20pm to the Davison home from Malpas and Chester on Monday, November 30 to find a blaze in the kitchen.
Steven said he and his wife Lu had finished setting up a North Pole breakfast with sweets and pancakes that night for their four young children as part of the Elf on the Shelf tradition.
But five minutes after the couple had gone to bed, their fire alarms activated.
Steven said they tried to find the location of the fire upstairs, only to discover it had started in the kitchen.
The dad-of-four said: “It happened on Monday, November 30 and we had just finished setting up a North Pole breakfast for the kids as part of the Elf on the Shelf.
“We laid it all out on the dining room table which was full of sweets, pancakes and syrup.
“We went to bed and five minutes later the smoke alarms went off and we were running around the bedroom and upstairs trying to find where the fire started.
“But I went downstairs and saw the washing machine on fire and flames.
“We grabbed the kids and got out and rang the fire brigade at around 11.05pm and it took them around 20 minutes to come because of where we live.”
Steven said his neighbours came to help and offered for the family to stay at their house, which the Davisons were very thankful for.
Devastatingly, the family’s home has been left destroyed due to smoke damage which has ruined everything from clothes to curtains.
The ground floor was also flooded as a result of the fire.
Steven added: “The actual fire damage to the house has been minimal, but the house has been ruined by smoke damage.
“Where there has been plastic burning it leaves an oily soot behind.
“It’s been left on everything, even if there is a tiny crack it is has got in there – it is everywhere.
“We are currently staying in a holiday let organised by Sanctuary Housing, but we’re overwhelmed with sorting the house and cleaning it, especially with four children.
“The children are doing OK at the moment, they understand what has happened but I don’t think we will know the true effect it has had on them until later on.”
Steven stressed that the home’s smoke alarm saved the family’s lives and said without them “we would not be here” and wanted other people to make sure theirs are in full working condition.
The dad said: “The smoke alarms saved our lives, if they didn’t go off or didn’t work we would not be here today.
“The baby was asleep in the cot through the fire alarms, but it woke the other three children up and me and Lu.
“We have had no ill effects, I have a slight cough because I have been cleaning the house, but the kids have been left unharmed thanks to the smoke alarms waking us.
“I just want to tell people to test your fire alarms and make sure they’re working.
“People can get in contact with me if they are unsure and I will do it for them.
“I’d also say for people to make sure they know how to get out the house safely if there is a fire, as this too saves lives.”
The family said they have also been ‘overwhelmed’ by the support from friends, the local community and businesses who have rallied around to help the Davisons.
Friend Joanna Robins, who works with Lu for her cloth nappy business, has organised replacement items for the family from kind-hearted Farndon residents.
She said the cloth nappy community has also gone above and beyond to help the family.
Joanna told CheshireLive: “I am friends with Lu and she also has a social media rep team for her cloth nappy business which I work with.
“The cloth nappy community have blown me away with their generosity.
“I wanted to help, as Lu and Steven are so kind and have helped me in the past.
“I just want to help and fix it for them, I live in Derbyshire and feel so far away at the moment to help.
“So because I could not be there physically right away I wanted to make sure they felt secure and weren’t panicking.”
Another friend, Rosie Johnson has also set up a JustGiving page for the family to raise money to help buy essentials, cover accommodation costs, and help get the Davison family back in their home for Christmas.
Steven said the outpouring of support for his family has been ‘amazing’ and they can’t thank people enough.
He said: “The support has been completely overwhelming as we are quite private and independent people.
“But the outpouring of support has been amazing and on the JustGiving page the amount of money some people are donating is just mind boggling.
“We want to say a big thank you to Jo as well because she has organised so much so we can deal with sorting the house.
“The Lakeside cafe at Manor Wood has also organised a breakfast with Santa for the children on December 12.
“We can’t thank people enough, people have done all this out the kindness of their hearts.”