At least five people were evacuated from their houses in the early hours of yesterday after a blaze broke out in an empty property thought to be a second home.
A total of 40 firefighters were called to the semi-detached cottage in Churchtown Gulval, near Penzance, after the alarm was raised by neighbours shortly after midnight.
Dawn and Dan Kingston, along with their children Libby and Camilla were evacuated from their house, next door.
Another neighbour was also told to leave their home.
Mrs Kingston said they were alerted by the sound of crackling and then they saw the flames flickering.
"The wind was coming this way and it looked as if the fire was coming towards our house," she said.
Firefighters were brought in from Penzance, St Just and St Ives, along with supporting units from Launceston, Falmouth and St Dennis.
They spent five hours extinguishing the blaze, which gutted the roof and is thought to have started accidently.