A Blackpool mum whose house was gutted in a ferocious blaze last year has spoken of her family’s struggle after suffering a second fire.
Sam and Graham Walwyn and their seven children were left homeless when a faulty fridge sparked a fire that gutted their home in Rusland Avenue, Mereside, last February.
The fire also killed their beloved dog, Staffordshire bull terrier Buster.
After forking out thousands in repairs, the family were finally able to move back into the house in October.
But disaster struck just three months later, when an electrical fault caused a fire which damaged the ground floor of the family’s home on New Year’s Eve.
Teaching student Sam, 37, said: “I heard a popping sound like popcorn in a microwave. I was at the top of the stairs and I thought it was one of the children banging on the front door.
“I went to the door only to find there was nobody there. Then I heard another pop and a spark came out of the metre cupboard.
“I screamed to Graham and the fire alarm started going off and all the kids came downstairs screaming.
“Last time we had a fire they were at school, but this time they were in the house when the fire started.
“They had to run past the fire to get out.
“My six-year-old had just got out of the shower and he ran out into the street in just a poncho with nothing on his feet. He was freezing.”
Sam and Graham, along with children Jack, 13, Adam, 11, Lacey and Lucas, eight, Katie, seven, Mason, six, and Tyler, four, spent four days in the Premier Inn hotel on Preston New Road before moving back into their home.
Sam said: “The whole house stinks of smoke.
“There’s damage to the first floor and the living room and hallway floors need replacing.
“All the electrics need replacing because the smoke could have got into them, even though they’re only three months old.
“Thank goodness it was nowhere near on the scale of the first fire.”
She added that the two fires had deeply affected her children, who are now ‘paranoid’ that another blaze will break out while they sleep.
She said: “Whenever a fire alarm goes off they scream.
“They won’t go to sleep without a light on.
“Anything that’s electrical, they have it in their heads that it’s going to start a fire.
“They’ve had to go to counselling.
“Me and Graham are settling down a little bit now but at the very beginning I was exactly the same.
“I couldn’t sleep. I was waking up all the time.
“Life is life, but we’ve had enough bad luck for now thank you!
“We’ve taken the rough and now it’s time to get a bit of smooth.
“The community came together for us and we had a lot of support so I can’t thank people enough for helping us.