A major incident has been stood down in South Yorkshire after 24 hours which saw flames destroy houses in at least four different communities and firefighters taken to hospital.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) announced the stand-down on Wednesday afternoon as investigations continued into blazes which engulfed homes in Barnsley, Clayton, Kiveton Park and Maltby on Tuesday evening.
A spokesman said two firefighters were taken to hospital on Tuesday with heat exhaustion but said: “Thankfully each of these has made a full recovery and they are all fine now.”
SYFR said later: “A major incident declared in South Yorkshire has been stood down.
“The number of fires being dealt with by emergency services has reduced significantly, but the fire service warns that conditions remain extremely dry and the risk of fire is still very high.
“People should avoid burning garden waste, not take BBQs to places like parks and countryside and take all rubbish with them to reduce the risk of fires starting.
“Emergency services thank the public for they support they have shown.”
Despite the number of calls dropping from the “unprecedented” levels on Tuesday, SYFR said crews were continuing to attend incidents, with multiple calls coming in on Wednesday afternoon to report a blaze at the derelict ski village in Sheffield, which left a plume of smoke over the city.
The worst incident in South Yorkshire on Tuesday was on Woodland Drive in Barnsley, where six houses were devastated when a fire broke out in a back garden and swept through nearby properties.
Residents described how they battled the flames with hosepipes for 45 minutes until fire crews arrived in a desperate attempt to stop the blaze spreading to more homes.
Jason Saville, who only returned from Tenerife on Monday, said he and his neighbours used a hose and buckets of water to beat back the flames despite pleas from police to leave the area.
Mr Saville told the PA news agency the first house was engulfed in flames within 20 minutes.
He said: “The police kept telling me to leave but I wouldn’t leave until I knew my property was safe.”
He added: “A lot of the community came together and tried to help but we couldn’t save those houses there because it was too much.”
Mr Saville said: “If the wind has been blowing the other way we would have had it.”
He said those who lost their house were all safe but one family was still looking for their cat.
Carl Fox lives only a few feet from where the fire started and he told how his house only missed being caught in the flames by a few minutes.
Mr Fox said: “I got a call on my video doorbell to say my fence was on fire, so I came back from work to find some lads in the garden fighting the fire with a hose pipe.
“It started next to the fence with a shed and it all just went up.
“The wind blew it up on to the houses and this is what we see now.
“If the guys had not lifted that fence panel out to use the hose pipes in the garden, that probably gave us another five or 10 minutes otherwise the whole house would have been up.
“It would have just carried on going, our house would have taken up and next door too.”
Mr Fox said his house suffered some minor smoke damage and he lost everything from his garden.
Almost 1,000 people have contributed around £16,000 to a crowdfunding appeal to help the families who lost their homes in Woodland Drive.
Doncaster Council said a major blaze in Clayton on Tuesday also spread to three residential properties, and a number of houses caught fire in the Kiveton Park and Maltby areas of Rotherham.
In Maltby, firefighters rescued a dog from one of the houses.
A miraculous story has emerged from a fire in Maltby this evening.
A Staffordshire Bull terrier called Dickie was inside one of the properties affected by the fire for more than four hours, before being reunited with its owner by firefighters. pic.twitter.com/p5sUqT2Rad
— South Yorkshire Fire (@SYFR) July 19, 2022
They said on Twitter: “A miraculous story has emerged from a fire in Maltby this evening.
“A Staffordshire Bull terrier called Dickie was inside one of the properties affected by the fire for more than four hours, before being reunited with its owner by firefighters.”