FAMILY FLEES A FESTIVE TREE INFERNO
Homelessness fear after devastating fire
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.