A house in Harehills has been completely gutted after a blaze broke out in the kitchen.
Home to a family of four, it is purely by chance that the father was not trapped upstairs in Sandhurst Terrace.
The family, who rent the house, did not want to speak but a friend said the father would usually be asleep after working a night shift.
His children woke him up before going to school and so he decided to visit his mother in the morning.
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The fire service were called around 9.30am.
Crime scene investigation officers remain at the scene this lunchtime.
The friend said: "They have lost everything. Passports, birth certificates, paperwork, everything is up in ashes.
"They are not insured. They had wanted to go on a holiday to see family but now this won't be possible.
"It is only by luck that the father wasn't in. He wouldn't have escaped unharmed, but he is a fairly young man so he may have been able to climb out of the window."
The landlord of the terraced house, who did not want to be named, said: "The main thing is everyone is out safe.'
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Both children are understood to have disabilities.
The family were offered the support of the British Red Cross but the family have the support of friends and family.
The cause of the fire is being investigated.