FIRES are always devastating. Whether they leave people out of pocket, without treasured personal possessions, with higher insurance premiums or worst of all with lasting injuries, they are a household hazard we all want to avoid.

Fortunately for those affected by the towering blaze in Chipping Sodbury on Sunday, nobody was seriously hurt.

Although a number of residents are now without some home comforts and have to go through the rigmarole of getting electricity supplies back up and running, they have their health and their loved ones.

It is always difficult to see the positive in any situation such as this but escaping with their lives, most of their possessions and only some smoke damage to their homes is definitely one.

The other, most certainly for Chipping Sodbury, was the show of community spirit on display after the blaze and even during early hours of the morning when the fire took hold.

Not only did people contact the emergency services, they gathered to see what help they could be and have since offered all sorts of assistance from hot food to accommodation and even donations of furniture.

But those most deserving of praise following the dramatic events of Sunday morning are without doubt our local emergency services.

Fire crews from Yate were said to have gone home after working tirelessly to dampen the flames, had one hour of sleep before returning to the scene to investigate the cause of the blaze.

And police officers from Chipping Sodbury took shocked homeowners back to their station for that all-important cup of tea and a chance to take in the magnitude of the situation.

A heroic effort by all involved and one which should not go unrewarded.