A YOUNG family were forced to flee their Canvey home after the house next door went up in flames.

Firefighters rushed to the scene in Canvey Road just before 4am, after a blaze broke out and destroyed the semidetached house.

The property was empty at the time and emergency services were only called when single mum, Andrea Thomas, from next door witnessed the flames coming from the roof.

Miss Thomas, 40, said she realised something was wrong when she could hear cracking sounds.

The mum, with two children aged eight and 13, had to escape from her house with the kids and a pet dog as the fire engulfed the entire top floor of her neighbour’s property.

She said: “The cracking sound and the noise of the fire woke me up. It was even making my little girl stir in her sleep.

“I checked on her and brought her back to my bed and then checked on my son, but when I got back into bed the smell of the fire was so bad.

“I got out to check and sawbig orange flames. I took the kids, my dog and rushed out. I called the fire brigade and then left my children with a woman I know who lives nearby. It was awful.”

Miss Thomas is unable to live in her house after the fire also caused serious damage to her property.

She said: “We now have to move out while work gets done in the house. The roof has been affected. I have holes in my roof which would affect the structure of my house.

“My room and my daughter’s room just stinks of smoke, the smell is going all over our clothes. I’m a single mum and I don’t have that much money.

The whole thing is just frustrating.”

The young family will be moving into a relative’s home nearby while the property undergoes repairs.

Ray Howard, Tory representative for CanveyWest, said: “I feel extremely sorry for the family, they are lucky to be alive.”

The fire, which started at about 4am on Sunday, was out by about 5.20am.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated by the fire service.

A spokesman for Castle Point Council said it is also investigating the fire, but has not been contacted by the tenant of the house regarding the blaze.