Soul legend Smokey Robinson has narrowly avoided losing his home to the wildfires sweeping across California.

Despite the MOTOWN star being accused of refusing to leave his property despite appeals from firefighters, Robinson insists he followed all instructions given by the authorities.

Of the fire, he says, "It was an absolute inferno. The flames were so close. The embers were coming over into my yard, hitting my trees and my roof. But as soon as they hit, they went out."

The TEARS OF A CLOWN singer praised the brave emergency services who have had to deal with the blaze.

He adds, "I take my hat off to the firemen. The fire was all around me."

31/10/2003 14:13