FAM­ILY FLEES A FES­TIVE TREE IN­FERNO

Home­less­ness fear after dev­as­tat­ing fire

South Wales Evening Post - - FRONT PAGE - AAMIR MO­HAMMED

A Fam­ily has been left with­out a home for Christ­mas after it was de­stroyed by a fire started by Christ­mas tree lights.

A FAM­ILY has been left with­out a home for Christ­mas after it was de­stroyed by a fire started by Christ­mas tree lights.

Nicola Jayne Jack­son, 33, was fast asleep with her two daugh­ters Nia, nine, and Eva, six.

Her hus­band Bradley Jack­son, aged 32, was asleep down­stairs as the smoke and fire spread through their home.

Nicola, a busi­ness owner, even­tu­ally got out of bed to find out why her dog was barking at around 11pm when she was con­fronted by smoke and flames.

“I was in bed as my hus­band was watch­ing a film. We had been out drink­ing so he de­cided to stay down­stairs,” Nicola said.

“Our brave, amaz­ing dog Bella woke me up barking. I went down­stairs and opened the liv­ing room door and black smoke bel­lowed out. I hon­estly thought there was no way my hus­band was OK, but I had to get my chil­dren out.

“I ran up­stairs to get my daugh­ter, but the han­dle on her door broke, and I started pan­ick­ing even more,” she said.

“Luck­ily she opened the door and I got my other daugh­ter, who was sleep­ing, and we ran out­side.”

Through­out all this hus­band Bradley was fast asleep on the sofa and didn’t re­alise what was go­ing on. When Nicola man­aged to get the chil­dren out­side, she ran back in to save her hus­band.

“I was cry­ing and scream­ing, but I had to go back in even though it was a stupid de­ci­sion. I ran in and dragged him out from his arm, and luck­ily all our neigh­bours were out­side help­ing,” she said.

“There were neigh­bours that I don’t even speak to who were help­ing me, and I’m so grate­ful as I was in a state. The wait for the fire ser­vice felt like hours.”

Her dog, Bella, ran back in­side to hide un­der a pil­low but was brought out by a fire­man when they ar­rived shortly after 11pm.

The fam­ily were lucky to get out alive, but their Christ­mas presents and be­long­ings were de­stroyed, as was the in­side of their Mor­ris­ton house.

And she is left with her chil­dren ask­ing whether they will still have a Christ­mas. “I am ab­so­lutely trau­ma­tised and still can’t be­lieve what has hap­pened,” she added. “My chil­dren ask me ‘will Santa still visit us?’ and it breaks my heart.

“This isn’t what Christ­mas is about, and I don’t want my kids think­ing that it is. We should be hav­ing a nor­mal Christ­mas like most fam­i­lies, it just breaks my heart.”

The fam­ily are stay­ing in a ho­tel un­til they can sort out long-term ac­com­mo­da­tion. Her fam­ily and friends have now set up a Just­giv­ing page to try to en­sure the fam­ily can still en­joy the fes­tive pe­riod.

Nia and Eva, who both at­tend Mor­ris­ton Pri­mary School, have been given colour­ing books and sta­tionery by the school while they aren’t at­tend­ing.

Nicola added: “I have had so many mes­sages of sup­port, peo­ple have bought us clothes and food, but I don’t know how to say thank you. I’ve never been in this sit­u­a­tion where peo­ple are help­ing me on such a big scale. The sup­port has been fan­tas­tic from every­one, es­pe­cially my neigh­bours and peo­ple on­line.

“I keep prais­ing my dog Bella, and it may sound stupid, but she’s so clever and saved our lives.”

This is the sec­ond time this week we’ve told the story of a fam­ily whose home has been de­stroyed by fire in in­no­cent cir­cum­stances. On Sun­day, Kirsty Jack­son told how her house was de­stroyed by a tum­ble dryer blaze.

In the wake of the in­ci­dents, Western Power Distri­bu­tion has re­leased tips to help peo­ple keep safe over the fes­tive pe­riod: ■ Check the con­di­tion of fes­tive lights when you un­pack them and dis­card any with frayed or ex­posed wires; ■ Con­sider re­plac­ing old lights with the lat­est spec­i­fi­ca­tion low volt­age lights which are less likely to get hot and over­heat; ■ If in­stalling out­door light­ing, al­ways look up and check for over­head power lines, par­tic­u­larly if you are us­ing a lad­der, as elec­tric­ity can jump; ■ Never use lights de­signed for in­door use out­side; and ■ Take care not to over­load plugs and ex­ten­sion leads.

The fire dam­age at the house due to an elec­tri­cal fault with their Christ­mas lights, and, be­low, hero Bella.

Nicola Jack­son with hus­band Bradley Jack­son and daugh­ters Eva and Nia.

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