THE sister of a woman who died in a fire that engulfed her home has spoken of her family’s devastation.
Joanne Jasper, 36, was killed in a blaze at her home in Woodsedge, Waterlooville, a week ago.
The mother-of-five, who was originally from Leigh Park, had celebrated her birthday two days earlier.
Sister Ann Cortopassi said she appeared to be happy and bubbly and was delighted with the presents her family had given her.
The 39-year-old, of Waverley Road, Southsea, said: ‘At the moment we don’t know exactly what happened. But the police say it was an accidental fire.
‘I saw her on her birthday and she was as bubbly as anything.
We have a very big, close familty and everyone is trying to put a brave face on but we’re devastated.Ann Cortopassi
‘We bought her an outfit and even though it was too small for her she was over the moon with it. She was excited about her birthday.
‘We have a very big, close family and everyone is trying to put a brave face on but we’re devastated.
‘Joanne was a lovely sister – caring and supportive. If I ever needed anything I could call her’.
The fire service were alerted to the fire at 10.45am on Monday.
It had taken hold on the ground floor and Mrs Jasper was found dead inside.
She was separated from her husband but they remained good friends and shared custody of their children.
For more than a decade they lived together in Gosport and Mrs Jasper moved to Waterlooville in January to make a fresh start and be closer to her mother, brothers and sisters in Leigh Park.
Miss Cortopassi treasures the memory of a day she and her sisters spent in London in July.
She said: ‘It was a last-minute thing to collect our other sister Gena’s passport.
‘We thought we’d make a day of it. We spent the whole day laughing together – everyone on the tube was looking at us.
‘We were so loud and outgoing. We bought a selfie stick and went outside Buckingham Palace to strike some poses.
‘Looking back now it was such a magical, special day. I’m so glad we were able to spend it together.’
Mrs Jasper had many friends across Gosport and Leigh Park. She was not working at the time of her death but had previously worked at One Stop, in Botley Drive, and Tesco and Asda.
Miss Cortopassi said her sister kept herself to herself at her new home but the family have been touched by flowers and cards left by neighbours in Woodsedge.
She added: ‘We will pull together through this. I’ve been amazed at how many people have been affected by it.
‘I’ve spent so much time thanking people who have said nice things about Joanne on Facebook.’
A date has not yet been set for Mrs Jasper’s funeral but the family will make an announcement.