"Halogen heater" causes blaze at family home in Gloucester
A MUM and her three children escaped a blaze at their home caused by a faulty halogen heater, bought just three days ago.
Donna Holford and her three children are lucky to be alive.
But last night they were left homeless by the fire which destroyed the first floor of their home in Robinswood Gardens, off Reservoir Road.
"I saw smoke and then flames from the heater and my first thought was just to get my kids out," said Donna, 33.
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"The fire alarm was going off and I couldn't believe it, the heater was brand new. We were lucky to get out.
"But our home is ruined and we've been left homeless."
On Sunday Donna bought the £9.99 halogen heater from Dunelm Mil.
But when she got it home she found it kept flickering on and off on its own. She took it back to the shop, in Bruton Way, and it was replaced by exactly the same model.
But yesterday morning, she switched on the heater and minutes later, at 7.15am, it burst into flames.
She said: "Before I took it from the shop I insisted they did a safety test on it, which they assured me they had.
"There's a big burnt hole in the house where the fire was.
"I would have tried to switch it off but the flames meant I couldn't get to the socket.
"I am extremely house proud and everything's ruined.
"My TV has been destroyed, all of my new pine furniture has been smoke damaged too.
"I really don't know what I'm going to do or where I'm going to go now."
Donna's three children – Chantelle Goodwin, 13, Chloe Goodwin-Gardner, aged six, and Charlie Goodwin-Gardner, aged four, will be staying with her mother Hazel until the house is cleaned up, or until alternative accommodation is found.
She has been renting the house for the past seven months and her landlord must now refurbish the home and make it safe.
To further her misfortune, Donna was supposed to start her new job as a chamber maid yesterday.
"I was due to start at the Hallmark Hotel in Matson yesterday but I obviously didn't make it," she said.
"I'm totally gutted by all this, I'm still in shock I think."
Two fire engines from Gloucester Station attended the incident with Watch Manager Chris Brian in charge of nine crew members.
The crew, wearing breathing apparatus, used one hose reel to extinguish the fire.
A spokesman said: "It is believed that the fire was caused by a faulty electrical heater.
"Luckily the family were alerted to the incident by their smoke alarm and were able to leave the property safely."
Dunelm Mill declined to comment.
Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue service offers free home fire safety checks and fits smoke alarms free of charge. Call 0800 180 4140.