A HEARTBROKEN family say their life has been turned upside down after their home was virtually destroyed by a fire likely to have been caused by a faulty iPhone charger.
Flames broke out in a bedroom of a two-storey house in Jasmine Grove, Waterlooville. It’s thought the charger overheated while left plugged in a socket.
Megan Wilson, 16, alone downstairs, realised there was danger after a smoke alarm went off and she ran up to find smoke pouring out of the room.
Unharmed, the brave teenager then dialled 999 before bursting outside. A neighbour then alerted her mum Deborah Wilson – who was at work – to the chaos.
About 30 firefighters from across the area battled the blaze, which had spread quickly and gutted most of the top floor and the attic.
Mrs Wilson, who works for Rowlands Pharmacy, told The News she watched on helplessly as the home she’s shared with her family for almost three decades burned.
The 57-year-old said: ‘I am absolutely gutted. We have lived here for a long time; it’s just heartbreaking. Material things can be replaced, while people can’t, so I’m so glad Megan is okay and no-one else is hurt.
‘But I am gutted because we had a bedroom full of Christmas presents; that was our Christmas.
‘I don’t know what’s going to happen now.
‘My neighbour ran into the shop, and said “your house is on fire”. She drove me in the car and when we got back I just stood there and watched it burn. We had a lot of memories in that house.’
I am absolutely gutted. We have lived here for a long time; it’s just heartbreaking.Deborah Wilson, 57, of Jasmine Grove, Waterlooville
Megan said she kept her calm. ‘I ran upstairs to see what was going on, and the blanket was on fire,’ she said.
‘I then ran downstairs and called the fire engine.’
Neighbour Tazmin Morris, 42, who leapt into action to alert Mrs Wilson, said: ‘I was driving my daughter Isobel back from school when we saw the fire.
‘I could see the smoke and I was thinking; “please don’t let it be my house”. I pulled up and Megan was banging on the door.
‘So I drove right up to the chemist to alert her mum.
‘I’m just glad no-one is hurt.’
16-year-old Isobel, a student at Oaklands Catholic School, captured a dramatic video of firefighters pumping water into a top floor window.
Firefighters from Waterlooville, Havant, Cosham and Portchester used 10 breathing apparatus, three jets and two hose reels to put out the fire, which calmed down after 25 minutes.
The family’s pet cockatoo managed to get out unscathed.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Southsea station manager, Charlie Harris, said an investigation is under way, but suspects a fault with the phone charger was to blame.
Mr Harris said: ‘It was an intense fire, with extremely hot conditions. Crews worked hard to get to the source of the fire.’
IMPORTANCE OF USING RECOGNISED PHONE CHARGERS
FIREFIGHTERS are urging residents to use legitimate mobile phone charges and to avoid purchasing cheap knockoffs.
And people are being advised to only use chargers that are appropriate for their own phone model.
Southsea station manager Charlie Harris said: ‘Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service strongly advises that all home users use a renowned phone charger for their mobile phone device.’
Mr Harris also spoke of the importance of a working smoke alarm, which helped to ensure that Megan Wilson got out of her family’s Waterlooville home safely.
Mr Harris said: ‘This shows how a working smoke alarm will give you early warning in the event of an actual fire happening in your home.’