Explosion in Titchfield home sees family lose 'everything' in nightmare blaze on Christmas Day

A FAMILY of four had their Christmas Day turn into a nightmare after a fire ravaged their home following an explosion in a children’s bedroom.

Saturday, 26th December 2020, 3:28 pm
Updated Sunday, 27th December 2020, 3:25 pm

More than six fire crews from stations in Cosham, Fareham, and Hightown attended the blaze in Hewett Road at 11.15am yesterday.

Care worker Carla Conduct was in the house with her three children – 16-year-old Bethany, 14-year-old Sophie, and 12-year-old Livvey – when she heard a loud bang and screaming coming from a bedroom shared by two of the girls on the first floor.

The 35-year-old ran upstairs to discover a scene of destruction: ‘I saw the bathroom window was blown out and the door to my bedroom was blown out. A wall had collapsed and fallen on Sophie’s leg. I just got the kids out of the house as quickly as possible.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

‘The fire didn’t start very big, but within five minutes the whole house went up.

‘It was a nightmare – was awful. We’ve lost everything.

‘I haven’t slept since and spent all of yesterday crying.’

No-one was seriously injured by the blaze, according to Carla, which she said is thought to have been caused by a gas leak.

The fire devastated the house Picture: Carla Conduct

Firefighters spent more than three hours tackling the fire and have yet to establish its cause, according to a spokeswoman from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Carla – who is four months pregnant – said she considers herself lucky to be alive: ‘I was in the front room watching Emmerdale when it happened. Luckily I wasn’t upstairs otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I’ve never been so glad I watch Emmerdale.

‘I said to my girls you always read about this sort of thing but you never think it’s going to happen to you.

‘Cannot say it was my best Christmas Day.’

The aftermath of a fire in Hewett Road, Titchfield, on Christmas Day 2020. Picture: Carla Conduct

Fire crews were praised for salvaging as much as possible from the house – including a beloved pet hamster – but fire and water damaged destroyed the family’s presents and a fridge-freezer full of Christmas dinner ingredients.

Thankfully the community has rallied around the heart-broken family, with donations of food and clothing as well a GoFundMe page that has raised more than £2,500 in a day.

Carla said: ‘For the people who have helped, I want them to know it makes a massive difference. The support has been overwhelming. There’s been money raised from people I don’t even know, people have dropped off toothbrushes, clothes, all sorts – it’s amazing.’

Gosport-based charity Acts of Kindness was praised by Tracie Matthews, a nearby resident whose 88-year-old father lives next to the Conduct family and had to be evacuated because of the blaze.

The aftermath of the fire

The 52-year-old said: ‘Dad didn’t know what was going on.

‘Now there’s a lot of smoke damage inside the house.

‘Acts of Kindness have provided him with food and clothing – I cannot thank them enough.

‘It’s so traumatic happening on Christmas Day.’

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: ‘Crews from Fareham, Hightown, Cosham and Portchester fire stations were called at 11:25 on Christmas Day to a two-storey terraced house fire on Hewett Road, Fareham.

‘On arrival crews found the upstairs windows had been blown from the property, with flames and smoke issuing from the building.

‘All occupants had safely evacuated and there were fortunately no casualties.

‘Firefighters rescued a pet hamster from one of the affected houses.

‘The fire, caused by the boiler in the property, was extinguished using six sets of breathing apparatus, hose reels and jets. The aerial ladder platform was also in use to remove tiles from the roof.

‘The properties involved suffered damage caused by the fire, smoke and water before the stop message came in at 15:15.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can subscribe here for unlimited access to Portsmouth news online - as well as fewer adverts, access to our digital edition and mobile app.

Our trial offer starts at just £2 a month for the first two months.