Saturday 21 September 2019

Family left homeless after Christmas tree sets house on fire

Advent Calendar Day 4
Advent Calendar Day 4 Newsdesk Newsdesk

A family have been left homeless in the run-up to the festive season after their Christmas tree caught fire.

Nicola Jayne Jackson, 33, husband Bradley Jackson, 32, and their two young daughters were fast sleep when flames spread through their home late on December 1.

The fire left their semi-detached house in Birchgrove, Swansea, in ruins, and robbed them of their clothes, sentimental items and presents just over three weeks before Christmas.

Mrs Jackson managed to rescue her husband and daughters Nia, nine, and Eva, six, after their dog woke her up at around 11pm when flames began spreading downstairs.

She said: "I was upstairs asleep in bed and my husband was downstairs watching a film and fell asleep on the sofa.

"Our dog, Bella, woke me up barking and jumping at me and I thought she wanted a wee. So I went downstairs and shouted at Bradley about letting her out, but then saw black smoke coming from the living room.

"It's hard to think about, but I thought there was no way he was OK. I managed to run back upstairs to grab the girls and get them outside. But then I had to go in for my husband, despite my neighbours who came out telling me I shouldn't go back inside."

Mrs Jackson re-entered her smoke-filled home and found her husband still asleep on the settee, before she grabbed him by the hand and dragged him until he got to his feet.

She was later told her husband's deep sleep and shallow breaths had prevented him inhaling a greater amount of dangerous smoke.

Mrs Jackson, who runs a play area for toddlers with her husband, said she has been inundated with support from family, neighbours, friends and strangers since the incident, including acquaintances who set up a JustGiving page which had raised £1,530 for them by Wednesday evening.

The Jacksons have been told work to repair their home will not begin until February next year, and they are staying in a Travelodge while their housing association finds them temporary accommodation.

"Hundreds of people have been in touch with messages of support and offering their help, I just want to thank them so much," Mrs Jackson said. "We've been given clothes, food, you name it, from people we don't even know."

Despite the upheaval, she said she was trying to remain positive for her daughters and husband and was determined to give them a "magical" Christmas.

Mrs Jackson said: "My youngest, Eva, is worried Father Christmas won't know where we live, and it breaks my heart. I still want them to have presents, be able to put them under a tree, and I still want it to be magical.

"We don't spend loads of money and I don't believe in spoiling my children, so we don't need a lot. I just can't wait to find somewhere for us to stay. I feel lost and don't want to sit in a hotel all day."

She said their insurance company was due to visit their home on Thursday, but a fire officer had already told them the blaze began when their Christmas tree caught alight.

Mrs Jackson said she now wants other families to check their own fairy lights for faults before decorating this Christmas.

PA Media

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