A family who were made homeless after a fire destroyed the roof of their house have thanked the fire service’s “sterling” efforts to save their home.

A fire, believed to have started in a derelict shed next door to their home, spread to the roof of their house, in Kings Road, Southminster, just before 10.45pm on July 30.

The couple’s two children James, 20, and Grace, 23, were not in the house at the time.

Mrs Dibben, 60, said: “We would like to publicly say a huge thank to our retained firemen for their sterling efforts in trying to save our house.

“After the fire was put out they were coming out of the house with armfuls of pictures and paintings and items that could never be replaced."