TWO homes have been destroyed following a roof fire in Higher Comeytrowe, Taunton, in the early hours of this morning (August 24).

Occupants of both houses had a lucky escape following the blaze, which was believed to be accidental.

One of the homes has been 100% damaged by the fire and the other was 60% damaged by the fire, with the remainder damaged by smoke and water.

Originally, two fire appliances from Taunton were sent to the fire, after receiving a call just after 3am.

One firefighter said the fire could be seen from Galmington and that it looked like a sun rise and that the smoke looked like fog.

When they arrived, the roof of one of the homes was well alight. A third appliance from Taunton, two appliances from Wellington, the Incident Command Unit from Wiveliscombe, and appliances from Bridgwater were requested.

Adrian Wollaston, Incident Commander from Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service said: "It was very fortunate that the occupants of both properties got out when they did.

"They were only aware of the fire when one of the occupants from one of the houses went downstairs to make a cup of tea and heard a noise.

"She saw the roof of the property was on fire and alerted everyone.

"The Welfare and Catering Unit from Burnham, the ambulance service and police attended and so did the Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Services.

"The lane is very narrow and we were very lucky that there is a nearby field where we could park all of the appliances but we still had a way to get the equipment down.

"The crews had a very difficult job but did very well to control it."

Simon McAdam, one of the occupants who had lived in his home for three years with his wife and two young children, said: "The fire crews and Red Cross have been amazing.

"They were out here straight away. "We don't appreciate that the Red Cross are here not just in third world countries but they gave me clothing.

"We all got out safe which is the main thing."

Fire crews are still at the scene for damping down and the road has remained closed for now.

A structural engineer has also been to inspect the property.

Both homes were fitted with smoke alarms, however as the fire started in the roof the alarms didn't detect it until much later.

Commander Wollaston added: "It is important that all homes are fitted with smoke alarms, and checked on a regular basis to make sure they are working."