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Laundry basket left on cooker sparks house blaze
11:00am Monday 8th October 2012 in Latest
A RESIDENT accidentally started a fire after putting a laundry basket on a cooker to stop her kittens climbing into the clean clothes.
Victoria Hopkin did not realise the hob was still on and the blaze devastated part of her kitchen.
She escaped unhurt along with five-month-old kittens Jasper and Maisie and is now warning people about smoke detectors. The 47-year-old heard the alarm at her West Cliff house in Bournemouth at around 1pm on Friday.
“I looked and I could see orange flashes from the kitchen,” said the Burnaby Road resident.
She tried to carry the laundry basket outside but it was dripping molten plastic. She threw a fire blanket over the basket but the air was getting in at the edges.
“When the glass bottles next to the oven started exploding, I thought: ‘Time to go,’” she said.
Victoria got help from workmen at a nearby house and told them: ‘I have set my house on fire.’ The workmen battled acrid black smoke that was below head height and managed to put it out.
Fire crews from Westbourne and Springbourne arrived and checked the scene and carried out tests. Victoria, who was working from home, had accidentally left the hob on after cooking soup for lunch.
She was alerted by a smoke alarm in the hall, which firefighters installed after a blaze at a neighbour’s house.
The laundry basket and clothes were destroyed and the kitchen suffered smoke and fire damage to the walls and cupboards.
Victoria was left without gas and electricity – but was mainly relieved the blaze had not been worse.
She said: “My main concern afterwards was finding my animals.
“I thought Maisie had run off but she was in the basement.
“I spent more time looking for her than phoning the insurance people or anything like that.”