A PRIEST and his wife were unaware that their home was on fire,
until a passer-by hammered on their front door to alert
The Priest-in-Charge of St Paul's, Stockton-on-Tees, the Revd
Derek Rosamond, and his wife, Lynne, thought that a fuse had blown
when their house (left) was plunged into darkness. As they
used torches to move around, they had no idea that an electrical
fault had started a fire in the roof.
When a passer-by, Kenny Westwood, who had seen the smoke,
noticed the torchlight, he realised that there were people
At first there was no response to his frantic knocking on the
front door. He was about to kick the door down when he saw a
flicker of light inside. He said: "They were searching for the
cause of the power cut. I said: 'Your house is on fire: you have
got to get out right now.' There was a bit of confusion before they
realised what was happening."
He then stood with the couple as fire crews tackled the blaze.
"It was horrible to see them watch their home burn - but they were
The house suffered a collapsed roof and ceilings, and water
damage. Three fire appliances and a hydraulic platform took almost
four hours to extinguish the fire.
A spokesperson for the diocese of Durham said that the full
extent of the damage was still being assessed. "This was a tragic
accident, but, thankfully, a passer-by had the presence of mind to
knock on the door when he saw smoke."
On Sunday, firefighters put out a blaze at another vicarage, in
Cornwall. The Vicar of Pendeen, the Revd Alan Rowell was leading
the morning service while a team of more than two dozen tackled a
fire at the 200-year-old vicarage.
On Wednesday, he told The Cornishman that villagers had
been "absolutely amazing. . . I've been able to buy some new
replacement clothes which, having always previously got my clothes
from charity shops, mean I'm much better dressed now than I've ever
One villager has offered to bring a metal detector to try to
find the Military Cross awarded to Mr Rowell's grandfather in the
First World War.