A MUM has spoken of her devastation after a fire started in her utility room and gutted her home.
Luckily, Trudi Whittingham and her two children – 13-year-old Jasmine and 11-year-old Ollie – had gone to pick up a parcel from the post office when the blaze took hold last Saturday.
Even my smoke alarm melted off the ceiling.Trudi Whittingham, from Kenwood Road
When the trio arrived back at their home – a mid-terrace house in Kenwood Road, Portchester – they were greeted by fire crews and police working to tackle the fire.
Trudi, 39, said: ‘Someone texted my little girl to say that our house was on fire and I said “they are being silly, ignore them” and then when we got home there were four fire brigades there.
‘I couldn’t believe it. From then, it’s a blur.’
The fire started in the utility room at the back of the property at around 2.30pm, and while the fire service is still investigating the cause, it is believed to have been caused by an appliance, such as the fridge freezer, or an extension cable.
Trudi’s neighbour called 999 after he saw smoke coming from the letterbox and fire crews battled for more than an hour to get the blaze under control.
Despite their best efforts, the house and nearly all its contents were severely damaged by smoke.
Trudi, a support worker, said: ‘I’ve never had a house fire before and I didn’t know what to think when I first saw it. It is so scary what it has done. Even my smoke alarm melted off the ceiling.’
For the meantime Trudi has moved in to her mum’s house while she tries to get back on her feet. And Fareham Borough Council, which owns the house, is looking at getting the family temporary accommodation while it works to fix the damage.
Unfortunately, the company that provided Trudi’s insurance had gone bankrupt the month before and she had not taken out another policy.
Trudi said she was grateful to her fellow members at Portchester Slimming World, who held a collection for her.
A donation page has also been set up by a fellow Portchester resident and already has £150.
To make a donation go to gofundme.com/ya66uzjw.