Cause of huge house blaze may always remain a mystery

The scene of the fire in Curlew Gardens, Wecock
The scene of the fire in Curlew Gardens, Wecock

Portsmouth coastguard called to reports of a body near Chichester

Have your say

A FAMILY say they may never know what caused a huge fire that destroyed their home.

The Ackers have spoken of their anguish after a detailed investigation has failed to deliver a definitive cause.

As reported in The News, the family had to escape their burning home in Curlew Gardens, Wecock, after waking in the middle of the night and seeing thick smoke pouring up the staircase.

Sarah Ackers, 37, was trapped with her baby daughter in a bedroom, while her husband Alan desperately fought through the smoke with their other daughter.

Mrs Ackers was eventually rescued as Mr Ackers climbed on to the roof of the front door porch and helped her to safety, passing the baby through a neighbour’s bathroom window.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service has now ruled out arson after launching an inquiry following the blaze last month.

There was initial evidence that a cigarette or faulty electrical socket could have caused the fire.

But as most of the house was reduced to charred rubble, nothing is conclusive.

Mrs Ackers said: ‘To a certain degree it’s upsetting that we will never know what it was.

‘But even if we did know, nothing is going to change that everything is gone. Sometimes it’s better not to know than to know.’

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Fire said: ‘There were some preliminary indicators of what the cause of the fire could be in terms of smoking materials and an electrical socket that was severely damaged, but nothing conclusive. Should any further evidence come to light that information could be reviewed.

‘We might never know. At this point there is no evidence there was forced entry into the property or deliberate ignition.’

The good news for the family is that they have been told their home is being rebuilt by Portsmouth Housing Association.

Mrs Ackers said: ‘It’s tearing our hearts out not being able to be there.

‘It’s definitely being rebuilt. When it’s done we have got first refusal on it. We want to go back – that’s our home, it’s where we are based and where our kids go to school.’

Although grateful to be alive, Mrs Ackers said the fire was still giving her sleepless nights.