AN ELDERLY couple managed to escape from a fire that devastated their home last night (Wednesday).

Alex and Joan Brown, both in their seventies, fled from their detached house in Wheatsheaf Road, Alconbury Weston, after a deep fat fryer burst into flames.

Mr Brown told The Hunts Post: "I was cooking tea and had put it [the fryer] on to heat up. I saw the flame underneath and pulled the plug and it just blew up."

Mrs Brown quickly phoned the fire service, who told her and her husband to get out of the property.

She said: "We soaked a tea towel in water and threw it over the fire but it just burnt through it. Within five minutes the flames were above the kitchen units - you should have seen it! They travelled along the coving and into the dining room. I could see the flames going right up and the fireman on the phone told me to get out of the house."

She added: "A fireman told us it was 800 degrees in the kitchen. The whole house is black."

Mr Brown said: "The fire brigade were here very quickly and were absolutely brilliant."

The couple are now staying with their son, Scott, in nearby Alconbury. He and his wife, Deborah, had to take Mr and Mrs Brown to Tesco late last night to buy new clothes as everything they own has been severely damaged by smoke.

Mr Brown junior said: "All that matters is that they got out. The bits and pieces you can replace - you can't replace your parents."

He added: "It was an electric deep fat fryer, they are supposed to be safe and they are supposed to be thermostatically controlled so that they don't catch fire. We don't know how this has happened."

The Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said they were called at 6.45pm and sent a crew from Huntingdon and a crew from Sawtry to tackle the blaze.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire using one hose reel, one CO2 extinguisher and a jet. They returned to their fire stations by 8.25pm.

Ian Cuthill, crew manager at Huntingdon Fire Station said: "Thanks to the smoke alarm the man and his wife received an early warning to the fire and were able to get out safely.

"Having a working smoke alarm in your home is the best thing that you can do to ensure you and your family safety."