Tragedy almost struck a young family at the start of the new year after fire and smoke swept through their home.
Wesley Martin (30) had to wade through thick smoke to rescue his daughters – one-year-old Elizabeth Louise and Liberty Rose (2) – from near-certain death at their Fosdyke home last Friday.
The fire started in Liberty’s bedroom, destroying at least £5,000 of goods including Christmas presents.
A fireman at the scene told Wesley the children would have died had he not acted in time to save them.
Wesley, who lives with his partner Samantha Cullingham (28), said: “I heard Elizabeth starting to cry at about 9.30pm so I went upstairs to go and check on her to make sure she was alright.
“Then I checked on Liberty and her bedroom looked like a foggy morning when you would have the car lights on full beam.
“I couldn’t see anything and I was thinking ‘she’s dead,” but I managed to work out where the bed was, grabbed Liberty and shook her until she started to cry.
“I wasn’t worried about the fumes because I was just thinking about my daughter and I’m so thankful that she had the fighting spirit to wake up.
“Me and Sam then got the two children out of the house while our dog was running around downstairs, so I had to take him outside as well to make sure he was safe.”
Fire crews and paramedics arrived at the scene in Washway Road within minutes and treated both children with oxygen for the effects of breathing in smoke.
Samantha said: “The firemen were taken aback because there was a horrific amount of smoke in the bedroom and the chief fire officer told Wesley that he saved our daughters’ lives.
“We then took the children to hospital in Peterborough where the doctors took blood from Liberty’s finger and they found that her nostril hairs had been burned.”
The fire was the latest in a series of setbacks for Wesley who had to give up his job as a builder because of the spine disorder spondylitis five years ago.
Samantha has also suffered ten miscarriages in the past three years.
She said: “My parents are devastated over what happened and it’s horrific that my daughters will now have this as a memory.”
Wesley said: “We have to thank the fire and ambulance crews who came from Skegness and did everything they could for us on the night.
“We’re making the best out of a bad situation as we’re all still alive when it could have been so much worse.”