Family loses everything in fire
Firefighters save pet Pomeranian from smoke filled Tills Hill home
By Jonathan Bell
Onlookers applauded on Court Street as Tills Hill resident Andrene Bean carried her pet dog safely away from her burning home.
The blaze had been discovered half an hour earlier, when her mother, Pansy, returned home from work.
“She had just knocked off from Sylvia Richardson and come home,” Ms Bean said. “She heard a loud bang and saw the smoke, and when she opened the front door, the flames came gushing out at her.”
Daughters Allana, 16 and Tiffany, ten, were both safe at school, and toddler Maya was being looked after.
Ms Bean was at her King Edward VII Memorial job.
When her mother called to say fire were leaping from their windows, Ms Bean said: “I couldn't believe it. I was just in shock. And I was panicking, worrying about my dog; there was no one else at home.”
At 10.45am, fire trucks responded, and four firefighters with breathing apparatus began to fight the blaze. Two blocks of Court Street were closed off, and a crowd gathered.
Firefighters rescued the pet Pomeranian just after 11am, and handed it into Ms Bean's arms.
Relieved at saving the animal, which was unhurt, Ms Bean later realised that the dog had found shelter in the only part of the home to escape the fire.
Still outside the blackened house, she said: “My entire upstairs has been gutted. Everything is gone.
“I've got three children and right now I'm just trying to see if I can get some clothes for them.”
Part of the roof had collapsed.
“My mother's still in shock but she's fine,” Ms Bean said. “She deals with stuff her own way.”
Their insurance company has secured them accommodation until Monday, she said, but the family had neglected to update their insurance after extensive renovations were carried out a few years ago.
“The insurance company is saying the house is underinsured,” Ms Bean said. “We never redid the policy after the place was fixed up.”
How the family will cover the cost of the blaze is as much of a question as how the fire began in the first place.
Although some firefighters speculated it may have been started by an electrical fault, Ms Bean said the home's wiring, like several of the rooms, had been new until yesterday.
After residing more than 20 years at Till's Hill, Ms Bean last night took up temporary residence in a guest house and started assessing the damages.
The Phenomenal Women Association has decided to assist this family in need and anyone that wishes to help can donate to our charity account at HSBC at 010-758381-012.
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