A COUPLE have paid tribute to those who rallied round them in support after they escaped a blaze at their home.

Marilyn and Peter Johnson were inside the house on Barnes Green, Brinkworth when it started just before 4pm on Thursday, but escaped unhurt after their fire alarm went off.

The cause of the fire, which severely damaged the roof and destroyed a loft conversion, is not yet known.

After the blaze was doused, Mrs Johnson told the Standard the support the couple had received from friends, neighbours and the firefighters was fantastic.

A grateful Mrs Johnson said: “At the moment it just seems very unreal. We have had wonderful support from our neighbours in Brinkworth. It has demonstrated what a wonderful place this is. We have had a least six offers of places to stay from neighbours in the village.

“The fire service was brilliant, not just in dealing with the fire, but in the way they supported us. They are a really supportive team of people. It was lovely to have people there to see if you are alright and put their arm around you. It was just really lovely.”

Friends of the couple, David Perkins, the minister of Royal Wootton Bassett Methodist Church and his wife Christine, were among those who visited the couple.

Mrs Johnson said: “I didn’t expect them to come out but they wanted to come out and support us here in person and that means a lot.”

The couple were able to escape their home soon after the blaze started. Mrs Johnson explained that this was down to the fire alarm going off straight away.

“Were were in when it started, that is why we were able to act so quickly. The alarm went off straight away.”

A crew from Malmesbury was of four fire crews and an aerial appliance that attended the scene.

Watch manager Chris Harvey said they got the call just before 4pm and the blaze was under control within an hour and-a-half of them arriving at the house.

“When we got there we found lots of smoke issuing from the roof area and lots of flames underneath the solar panels.

“Once the panels had been isolated firefighters were able to tackle the fire in the same way as an ordinary roof fire."