A MAN who helped his neighbours escape a fire that nearly reached their house has said ‘things could have been much worse’.

The 25-year-old, who does not wish to be named, spotted his neighbour’s Audi on fire on Recreation Avenue in Athersley on Monday night.

The man said he had gone to bed before he heard a knock on his door.

“I didn’t understand why someone was knocking on my door at that time but it was another neighbour who told me what was happening,” he said.

“The whole car was on fire and the family whose car it was were still inside the house. Myself and my neighbour went round and he jumped over the fence to lift it so I could get under and we managed to get into the house and get the family out.

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“They have a little girl as well and so do I. Their little girl sleeps at the front of the house where the car was on fire so if we weren’t alerted to what was happening things could have been much worse.

“It was lucky my other neighbour had seen it and let me know so we could alert the family. The fire had got to their front door and could have easily spread to the house.”

South Yorkshire Fire and Yorkshire Rescue confirmed firefighters from Cudworth Station attended the incident where an Audi A1 was on fire at midnight and crews spent 45 minutes at the scene.

A spokeswoman confirmed the fire was deliberate.