AN OTLEY man has described the moment he rushed to save his neighbours from a burning house.

Olivier Masekessabou, his wife Caroline and their two children were asleep in their semi-detached home on The Crossways when the drama unfolded in the early hours of Wednesday, July 11.

Olivier heard a smoke alarm go off and, after initially thinking it was nothing to worry about, decided there was a real problem - and woke his family to get them out of the house.

Outside, they saw smoke billowing from their next door neighbour, Matthew Dykes' property - and then heard cries of help from Matthew and his two sons coming from a rear upstairs window.

Caroline said: "We wondered at first if it was just another false alarm but Olivier got us up and told me 'no, this is not right, get out of the house'.

"We came out and just saw smoke everywhere, we couldn't see Matthew and the boys for it but we heard them crying for help."

Olivier said: "Matthew told me to try opening their door but when I did flames rushed out and we realised we had a big problem.

"So I brought a ladder, which was thankfully out in their garden, to the wall to reach up to them but it was too short.

"So I put it on top of my shoulders and they climbed out that way, the children coming first."

Forty four year old Matthew and his children, 12 year old Bailey and ten year old Finlay, emerged scared and coughing from breathing in smoke.

When firefighters - crews from Cookridge, Rawdon and Ilkley attended - they gave the family oxygen before they were taken by ambulance to Harrogate District Hospital.

Although the Dykes themselves emerged relatively unscathed, they lost their dog, Maisie, who had been downstairs when the fire started.

Olivier said: "The children wanted to go into the house for the dog but we had to stop them, it was just too dangerous.

"After they had all climbed out of the house Matthew was very upset but also very thankful. He told me 'this is my life, these are my children - thank you, thank you.'"

The following day saw both families left counting the cost.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the entirety of the Dykes' home was affected, and that they had lost virtually all of their possessions.

Fire investigators believe the blaze began in the living room with the most likely cause being from an open fire that had been lit earlier in the evening.

They are urging householders to make sure they have working smoke alarms, to close internal doors at night and, if they have had an open fire, to ensure it has been completely extinguished.

A video showing the fire on The Crossways, along with more safety tips, has now been posted on the West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service Facebook page.

Olivier and his family, meanwhile, are having their home checked over for structural damage and facing a big clean-up operation to get rid of all the soot and smell of smoke.