A MUM says she has lost everything after fire tore through the home she shares with her two daughters in Helston yesterday.
Suzy Thalha’s 14-year-old daughter Jess was alone in the house at around 12.30pm when she smelt burning coming from the garage.
The teenager, who was still in her pyjamas, went to investigate and found a number of towels in the tumble dryer had caught on fire.
She grabbed their dog Bandit and ran out into the street where she called her mum, who was at work in Sainsbury's.
Ms Thalha said she ran out of work as soon as she got the phone call, not quite believing her house was on fire.
“As I was driving down the road I could see the smoke coming out of the back of the house,” the 37-year-old told the West Briton. “I felt sick. I still feel sick.”
Jodie Edwards, who lives across the road, spotted Jess in the street.
She said: “I was in my bedroom and I looked out and I saw Jess with the dog on the lead in her pyjamas and looking really upset and she was on her phone.
“I opened the window and asked if she was all right. She said the tumble dryer was on fire. I grabbed some clothes and ran down the stairs. At the time there was just a bit of smoke coming out of the back.”
Ms Thalha arrived home before the fire crews. “The fire had spread from the garage to everywhere,” she said. “It seemed like forever before the fire crews arrived but when you are watching your house on fire, a second can feel like forever.”
The fire was eventually brought under control and today, friends and neighbours were rallying around to help Ms Thalha and her family clean out the blackened shell of the house.
Downstairs, the kitchen was blackened and melted. A charred television, fire damaged sofa and blackened rocking horse still stood in the living room. Black bags of the family’s burnt belongings were piled up outside the front door.
Upstairs, Jess had shut her door just before the fire began and her pretty pink room was almost intact. Her eight-year-old sister Ellie’s bedroom had also escaped the worst of the fire damage, but all the windows were broken or blown out.
Ms Thalha, who has lived in the house since it was built in 2006, said she had been going through a mortgage rescue scheme with Cornwall Council, which was due to complete at the end of July but had not yet been finalised.
She had no insurance as she said she had been struggling to pay the bills.
“That is why I was going through the mortgage rescue scheme,” she said. “I have no idea where I stand on it now.
“The only thing that is keeping me going is that at least most of the kids’ stuff is still intact. We are just trying to clear everything out now so we can see what’s left. It looks like not a lot.”
Anyone wishing to help the family should contact the West Briton who can put you in touch.
- For more on this story, see this Thursday’s West Briton.