A FAMILY of four ran to safety as their home was engulfed in flames.

Lawrence Bangura, his wife and two children escaped from the blazing house on Stratford Road, Blacon, on Saturday night.

Mr Bangura's son, who does not wish to be named, had lit a candle and fallen asleep just before 11.30pm.

The flame caught some material and caused the bedroom TV to explode.

Liverpool John Moores University student Mr Bangura, 38, said: 'It was a big shock at first - we have never experienced anything like this before.

'I was downstairs writing an essay for my university course on the computer, so luckily I was awake.

'My son always has his door locked so I did not see the smoke at first.

'The alarm went off and woke my son up. I rushed him out of the house and shut some of the doors to stop the fire spreading and then I heard an explosion as the TV caught fire.'

Mr Bangura immediately ran back upstairs to save his daughter, Florence, who was still asleep, and his wife.

The family are now staying in a bed and breakfast in Hough Green while Chester and District Housing Trust assesses how long the house will take to repair.

Firefighter Andy Spencer said: 'The family owe their lives to the smoke alarm, which alerted them to the blaz e.

'It was a seriously well-developed fire and the first floor was severely damaged.

'Neighbours and friends rallied around to give them support and everybody in the area was concerned for them.'

Mr Bangura added: 'We are all OK now - my children went on a school trip to Conwy on Monday, which helped them take their minds off it.

'I am just glad we are all safe.'