Fire damage leaves couple in the cold

Ronlad Nowell has had to live with extensive damage to his house following a fire next door in September.
Ronlad Nowell has had to live with extensive damage to his house following a fire next door in September.
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AN ELDERLY couple have been left in freezing conditions after their bungalow was damaged by fire.

Ron Nowell and his wife, Florence, both 87, escaped the blaze which started when a cannabis cultivation in the property next door set light to the loft.

Their home, on Northumberland Avenue, Cleveleys, was filled with smoke and part of their roof was destroyed in the fire last September.

But four months on and the couple are still living in freezing conditions as the roof has remained unrepaired and they are without their own bed and furniture.

To make matters worse, Mrs Nowell is still suffering from a painful nose injury caused when she tripped over the cable of equipment – brought in to help dry out the house – smashing her nose and jaw.

Mr Nowell told The Gazette: “The last few months have been a living hell – from the horror of the fire which could have killed us – to our living conditions now.

“We moved into a hotel immediately after the blaze but on our return we found the house was still damp and four industrial blowers and two dehumidifiers were in the lounge.

“We only have a small living space and have had to put up with the noise and the heat from the machines which made us both very ill.

“The final straw was when Florence tripped over the cable, she smashed her nose and has been in a lot of pain ever since plus the shock.”

Mr Nowell said he is unable to move on with his life until the roof is fixed. But he claims the repairs could take months.

He said: “Because the fire was caused by cannabis cultivation I have been told next door’s insurer won’t cover the damage.

“That leaves me stuck between a rock and hard place as while we wait more roof tiles are slipping off and more water is getting in.

“There is no point redecorating until the building is sealed efficiently, I am just depressed.”

A spokesman for Churchill’s insurance, acting on behalf of the Nowell’s said it was a complex case.

She said: “We are trying to assist the Nowell’s as best we can, they are a priority.

“I believe there have been problems tracing the landlord next door, there will be issues with insurance because of the cannabis – we can’t fix the neighbours roof.

“We are however arranging an urgent meeting with all parties to assess structural damage to the roof. If we have to fix part of the neighbour’s roof to protect our clients we will.

“We are also willing to cover the cost of alternative accommodation if required.”

Police confirmed the blaze started when a cannabis cultivation set alight. There have been no arrests.