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News Archive > General > Appeal for help after house fire

Appeal for help after house fire

By Natasha Swift 4th October 2017

Appeal for help after house fire
HELEN Seymour and partner Derek Mitchell suspect dryer caused fire

A COUPLE who escaped a potentially deadly house fire in Bugle have appealed for help from the community - after losing nearly all of their possessions in the blaze.

Helen Seymour, 62, who works in the cafe at Asda St Austell, and her partner Derek Mitchell, 58, did not have contents insurance at the home they rented off Fore Street in the village - which was gutted in a suspected tumble dryer fire.

Her daughter Teresa Newcombe, who also works in the café, said she was thankful her loved ones escaped: "The main thing is, we can get all of this 'stuff' again- but I would not have been able to replace my mum. It has been a big shock but thankfully they are out, safe, and no-one was hurt.

"Mum was in at the time, sitting downstairs preparing dinner. She heard a pop from the upstairs, which she thought was the cat. She went up and found the whole floor was engulfed in flames. She had been trying to put it out with wet towels - but this was one occasion we just needed to get out leave it to the experts.

"All they had was the pyjamas they were in.We are not going to be able to retrieve anything from the house - it was water logged in the rescue."

Teresa and her daughter Karina put an appeal on Facebook calling for donations of clothes for Helen and Derek. The community rallied to provide clothes for Helen, but the family still needs donations of men's clothes in size XL or 40-42 trousers for Derek. The couple also need short-term accommodation while their landlord sorts out insurance issues and repairs at the property. Until this is resolved, they cannot manage donations of bulkier equipment.

Two fire engines from St Austell, and one from Bodmin, were called to the property - a former coach house converted into three houses - at 12.30 on Sunday. At the time, it was reported that people could be inside the building. Police also attended, and closed the road to enable firefighters better access.

Six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the smoke-filled building, confirmed no-one was inside, and put out the fire using hosereel jets.

A spokesman for the fire service said: "They were very lucky. A few more minutes, and we would have had flames going through the roof (into neighouring properties). That was avoided due to the timing of the rescue."

Last week, The Voice reported how firefighters from St Austell tackled a separate tumble dryer fire which started in a shed outside a property in Probus and spread to a neighbouring bungalow.

Firefighters urged local residents to clean the filters of tumble dryers, check product recalls, and not leave machines unattended.

Anyone who would like to support the family or donate items should telephone Teresa Newcombe on 078967 38306.

By Natasha Swift 4th October 2017

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