Residents speak of relief at pets being saved from blaze

By Carl Jackson Wednesday 19 December 2012 Updated: 19/12 17:06

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Buy photos » Picture courtesy of Graham Eglen at www.fire-engine-photos.com

A BROMSGROVE woman has told of her terror after she returned home to find her flat on fire with her two cats trapped inside.

Shantel Cole heard her smoke alarm going off and could smell burning plastic as she returned to her home in Edwin Crescent, Charford, just before 2pm on Tuesday (December 18), after doing some Christmas shopping.

Af first the 27-year-old thought it was from her neighbour’s flat upstairs, but when she opened her front door she saw black smoke everywhere.

Her neighbours ran in to rescue her cats, Oscar, a 12-month-old kitten and his mum Jasmine, two-and-half-years-old.

But Shantel feared the worst when they started frothing at the mouth and were not responding to her.

“I was terrified I could lose my animals - I have had them since they were babies.” she said.

Thankfully, after been taken to Townsend Vets, Birmingham Road, and spending the night in oxygen boxes, the cats have pulled through and are ready to come home.

The problem now is where they are going to go. After spending the night in a hotel, Shantel admitted it could be months before she could move back.

She said: “The hallway and bathroom were completely black. I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’m homeless.” said Shantel.

“I have lived here for three years and it has been mayhem from day one.

“I am just devastated, I am in limbo at the moment, everything is just a big question mark.”

Faye Stanley, who lives above Shantel, rushed home from work after another neighbour informed her about the fire.

She got home just in time to let firefighters in who also rescued her dog and two cats as a precaution.

“Smoke was everywhere, I was more bothered about my animals than anything else - my dog and one of my cats were scared, but my kitten seemed fine,” said Faye.

A Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson confirmed crews were sent from Bromsgrove and promptly put out the flames before ventilating the property.

A bdht spokesperson said: “A fire occurred in one of our tenant’s homes yesterday as a result of an electrical fault with a boiler.”

She added bdht’s tennant safety was of paramount importance and the trust had sent out maintenance engineers on Wednesday (December 19) to check all flats were safe.

She said the trust had also contacted the boiler manufacturer to check the boilers of every single Edwin Court tenant were in fully working order.

And she said Shantel was offered local temporary accommodation.

“She has declined and has decided to visit her mother in Cornwall earlier than planned for Christmas.

“bdht has covered the cost of her and her pet’s train travel.”

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