Insurance misery after house blaze

NILABE111214a2 Roger Barker house fire Glebe crescent Ilkeston
NILABE111214a2 Roger Barker house fire Glebe crescent Ilkeston

AN ILKESTON man has said he is thankful a fire, which started in an airing cupboard, did not spread any further.

But Roger Barker, 58, who scrapes by on £6 a fortnight in benefits, is not feeling particularly lucky because he was not insured and the upstairs of his Glebe Crescent home is now temporarily out of bounds.

The blaze, blamed on a faulty immersion heater, happened at about 7am on Monday and is thought to have caused thousands of pounds of damage.

“I’m just glad it didn’t spread to next door because they’ve got children,” he said.

“But it’s a real mess up there. I’ve not gone up into the loft yet – I think I’m going to get a big shock.”

The unemployed HGV driver said: “This has really upset me, but it’s happened and that’s that.

“At least I can carry on living here and no one was hurt.”

The fire service, which dispatched engines from Ilkeston, Heanor and Derby to the blaze, said Mr Barker did not have a smoke alarm.

They have since been back to his house and fitted one for free.

“I was just in the living room getting ready to go out when water started dripping down from the ceiling,” explained Mr Barker.

“When I saw the flames I rang 999, got out of the house and told my neighbours.”

He added: “I don’t think a smoke alarm would have helped because it was all contained in the airing cupboard. But I feel a bit safer now I’ve got one.”

After his mortgage goes out, he is left with £3 a week to spend. He tries to supplement his income selling scrap cans.

“I’m not sure what I’ll do now,” he said.

“I’ve got a lot of forms to fill in so hopefully I can get the costs of sorting the house out covered.”

Mr Barker was in the Advertiser about 25 years ago when he rescued an elderly lady from a fire across the road.

He said the pensioner had fallen asleep with a burning cigarette.