Hartlepool mother loses belongings after house blaze releases asbestos

A Hartlepool mum was told “nothing could be saved” after a fire in her home released asbestos.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 4:45 pm
Sophie (right) with her partner Andrew Neil and children Isaac and Amelia.
Sophie (right) with her partner Andrew Neil and children Isaac and Amelia.

The blaze started in the first floor of the home in Masefield Road at around 1.30pm on Thursday, December 30, while Sophie Remmer and her two children Amelia Mckie, seven, and Isaac Neil, three, were sitting downstairs.

Firefighters tackled the flames and nobody was injured.

But Sophie lost her home and her possessions after asbestos was found in the property some days later.

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The fire started on the first floor of the home./Photo: Sophie Remmer

Sophie said: "We were sat downstairs, me and my two children. We heard a noise. The smoke alarm then went off.

"I rang the fire brigade and we went outside.”

Sophie, 26, was told the fire started in her son’s bedroom and could have been caused by a charger left plugged in.

But she is still waiting to find out the definite cause.

Sophie was told the fire could have been started by a plugged in charger./Photo: Sophie Remmer

The mother-of-two, who was living in the property since October, was hoping to collect some of her undamaged possessions following the blaze.

She was initially allowed to go back in although shortly after was asked not to go inside because asbestos had been found in the home.

“He rang me back 10 minutes later and told that he needed to come and get the keys off me, because there’s asbestos," said Sophie.

"I got told that nothing, absolutely nothing could be saved, apparently.”

Sophie was told her possessions couldn't be saved after asbestos was found in the house in the aftermath of the fire./Photo: Sophie Remmer

Kay Glew, director of operations at Thirteen, which managers the property, said: “Our deepest sympathies go to Ms Remmer who suffered a fire at her home on 30 December, 2021.

“As a result of the action taken to put out the fire, some asbestos fibres have been released from artex coatings within the property.

"As safety is our number one priority, we arranged for a specialist contractor to make the property safe and this also has involved us cleaning the customer’s possessions that could be salvaged.

"Unfortunately, some possessions are unable to be cleaned and need to be safely and securely disposed of.

“We’ve been supporting Ms Remmer by providing an alternative home in the same street while we carry out the required repairs to the property and have been working closely with her since to offer our help, support and advice throughout this difficult time.

“It’s a sad reminder to us all of the importance of taking out home contents insurance to protect our belongings just in case if the worst should happen.”

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A fundraiser has been started in the aftermath of the incident and Sophie, who has been staying with her partner, Andrew Neil, has said she has had “so much help”.

Sophie said: "It’s amazing. I’ve had so much help. People have raised money for us, dropped toys off for us. Poolie Time Exchange have given us a couch and a bed for our new house when we get one.”

After the incident, Cleveland Fire Brigade released safety advice on social media.

It said: “Extra electrical items in the home increases fire risks. When charging your electrical items make sure that they are well ventilated, so heat doesn’t build up and cause a fire.”

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