Couple told fire-hit home is fit to live in

Rebecca Harrison wth son Harry
Rebecca Harrison wth son Harry
Share this article

A YOUNG Wigan family was left shocked after housing bosses told them that their fire-ravaged home is fit to live in.

Rebecca Harris, her partner Peter Yarwood, both 25, and their three children have had to move into a nearby Premier Inn after a blaze broke out in their house on Almond Brook Road, Standish.

The family say that the property has been gutted downstairs and is completely uninhabitable, especially because of their three young children.

Wigan and Leigh Housing officers have visited the house and say that there should be no problem for them to move back in.

“They told us that the main problem was smoke damage and they fixed the electrics,” said Rebecca. “There is no way my kids could live there, though. There are smashed windows, a hole in the ceiling and lots of other damage too.

“When the fire service came they told us that it was unsafe for us to return, yet the council say different.”

The incident happened last Wednesday morning after the couple had dropped their eldest child off at school. However, on realising they needed to nip home, they found the fire had broken out downstairs.

“We went out for the school run before going shopping,” added Rebecca. “By chance we had to go back home and opened the door and we were hit with a lot of smoke. The dog was inside too.

“The fire brigade said it was the tumble dryer because of the amount of fluff that had collected around it.

“We can’t live there. Luckily we have home insurance which has paid for us to be put up in an hotel for two weeks.

“The council, though, think we can live there now. They say it could be 28 days before everything is fixed but they see no reason why we can’t be back there now.

“The guy who first came round from Wigan and Leigh housing told us that we couldn’t move in but now they are contradicting themselves.

“I rang them asking what they are doing and they told me there is a 28-day ticket on the property.”

The couple’s youngest daughter, Isbobella, is due to celebrate her first birthday this week but will wake up inside a hotel rather than her bed at home. The couple now have an anxious wait to find out when they can move back in.

Despite the family being told the repairs could take up to a month, director of asset management and development at Wigan and Leigh Housing, Matt Roberts says it could be less and still believes they can move back in.

He said: “The fire caused damage to some fixtures and fittings, but the main issue was smoke damage. We arranged for the electrics to be fixed and the heating reinstated within 24 hours. The majority of all other repairs will be completed within two weeks.

“There was no structural damage caused by the fire and so should not prevent the family continuing to live at the property.”