A DEVASTATED Southampton man has spoken about the “terrifying” ordeal that saw his family home destroyed in California’s devastating wildfires.

Keith Durnford, who lived in Millbrook, and his young family were forced to flee their home in Santa Rosa as their street became engulfed in flames.

The former Weston Park Boys School pupil woke to find smoke and wind filling his house in the early hours of Monday morning.

Grabbing his wife Nicole and four-year-old son Dylan, the family jumped in the car in an effort to outrun the blaze, tearing through properties just yards away.

Mr Durnford told the Daily Echo that his £415,000 home in Santiago Drive had been destroyed.

He said: “We have nothing – absolutely nothing.

“It was terrifying. My wife woke me up and we could smell smoke in the air but initially there was nothing about it on the TV or on the radio about the fire.

“We went back to sleep but when we woke around 1.30am, we could see the fire outside.

“A house just four doors down was on fire. We immediately grabbed our son and headed straight for the car.”

As they jumped into the car and drove away from the fire, the family were quickly caught in traffic – with hundreds of other people trying to flee the scene.

The avid Saints fan decided to turn the car down a side street and race to an out of town hotel.

Thankfully, the Durnfords managed to get the hotel’s last room.

But it was then reality set in.

“Everything we worked our lives for is gone,” Mr Durnford, who works at the local Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital as a senior supply chain manager, said.

“We tried not to talk about the situation in front of our son, but he saw it on television and said ‘have we lost our home?’

“What do you say to a four-year-old when he asks you something like that?”

He added: “We’re still paying the mortgage off so that will bankrupt us because the insurance won’t cover us. I’ve lost hundreds of films, thousands of vinyl singles and my beloved signed Saints shirt.

“The worst thing is, I tried to grab some of Dylan’s toys but I forgot his favourite one.

“He thinks his toy is dead and I feel responsible for that. He will never see that toy again.”

Mr Durnford has lived in Santa Rosa since 2000, marrying his wife later that year.

Friends and family have quickly rallied to help the Durnfords with a justgiving page already raising nearly $2,000 since the fire.

It was set up by Mr Durnford’s best friend, Keith Seymour who wrote: “Imagine leaving your home and this happens.

“I can’t imagine what this must feel like but hopefully we can help get them through this.”

So far, at least 13 people have died as a result of Monday’s wildfires in northern California, with at least 100 injured at 1,500 homes and businesses destroyed.

Much of the state’s famous wine producing area has been affected.