A woman fled her burning home in scorched Wennington with just her photo album, a cat and her dead father's ashes, it emerged today.
Two of her cats are still missing following the massive fire which she said might have started in a compost bin next door to her.
The story emerged as a friend, who would not give his name, returned to the village to look for her cats.
He said he was looking after two people who had lost their homes.
He said: "I just came down to look for the cats of two friends who are staying at mine in Upminster.
"I heard the scrapyard was looking after pets but I haven’t seen the cats and the police aren't letting anyone through.
"The fire, it was next door to their house, and she seems to think it came from a compost bin. She said it enveloped the treeline.
"She tried to get her cats out, one jumped out of her hand, the other she got in a box and the other ran off.
"It scratched her hand it was so frightening.
"She was evacuated to the Windmill pub but luckily I'm local so I phoned them up when I heard and they came to stay with me in Upminster.
"They are more concerned about the cats than the rest of it. They're in shock but there are little bits coming back to them.
"She lost her father last year and she picked up her photo albums on the way out and his ashes.
"Otherwise it's all gone, everything. They've got two vehicles and they are not even letting them go in to get them, a van on The Green and a Porsche outside someone's house.
"At least if they get them they are mobile."