Neighbour saved Leeds family as fire tore through their Leeds home in early hours
A heroic neighbour helped to save the lives of a father and his two sons as flames engulfed their family home in Leeds during the early hours of this morning.
The devastating fire at the house in the Crossways, Otley, has left Matthew Dykes and his children with no home and virtually no possessions.
It also claimed the life of the family's beloved American bulldog, Maisie, who could not be saved due to the intensity of the blaze.
But 44-year-old Matthew is simply grateful that he and his sons were able to escape thanks to the quick thinking of Olivier Masekessabou, who threw a ladder up to a bedroom window after hearing their cries for help.
Matthew said: "The smoke alarms woke us and it was just black, acrid smoke that came flying up the stairs. It happened so quickly."
Sons Bailey, 12, and Finlay, 10, were sleeping in the room directly above the fire so he moved them all to a back bedroom, opened the window and began to shout out.
Meanwhile, Olivier had heard the alarm sounding and ushered his own family out of their house after deciding something was seriously wrong.
His wife, Caroline, said: "I couldn't even tell what was going on until I looked next door and I saw the fire. It was shocking. I didn't imagine it was going to such a serious incident."
It was then that they heard the Matthew and the boys shouting from the back bedroom window.
"I was screaming for help," Matthew said. "Fortunately I had a ladder outside the house and Oliver put it up. He pretty much saved us."
The children climbed to safety before Matthew made an attempt to reach Maisie downstairs and was beaten back by the flames.
Having been asleep naked, he was forced to climb out without any clothes on and had to be lent something to wear by a neighbour.
Matthew said: "I got myself out and then watched everything I own go up in flames. We're all out and we're all safe though, apart from Maisie unfortunately. All the other stuff is material and we can get that back again.
"Maisie was the softest dog in the world. We're going to be bury here in the garden this afternoon."
Firefighters called to the scene at around 1.30am gave oxygen treatment to Matthew and the boys before they were taken by ambulance to Harrogate District Hospital.
"I would really like to thank the hospital," Matthew said. "They were fantastic. They were really, really good with the boys.
"All the neighbours have been absolutely brilliant too."
Caroline said her husband's role in helping the family was typical of the way he always sought to help others.
"He's very alert about what's going on," she said. "If there's every something wrong, he will pick things up and help. That's how he is."
Returning to the house this morning to see the extent of the damage and start the long process of replacing their uninsured possessions, Matthew was determined to focus on the positives.
The family are due to go to Spain in a fortnight for what will be the boys' first holiday abroad.
"There's only one cupboard in the whole house that wasn't damaged," he said. "It had my wallet and our passports in it, so we're very lucky."
West Yorkshire Fire Service said crews from Cookridge, Rawdon and Ilkley been worked together to put out the fire.
A spokeswoman said an investigator had made a visit to the property as work begins to established the cause.