Investigators have found that the remnants of ashes from a barbeque, placed in a wheelie bin, was source of the devastating blaze at the house in Trafalgar Place. They had been placed there the previous day and had continued to smoulder.
It was in the early hours of Monday 14th June that a neighbour alerted the occupants of the house, Paul O’Brien, fiancee Christina and young sons Fin, eight, and Eliot, two, to the devastating fire. The family got out safely from the blaze which rapidly gutted the back rooms of their home and left all other rooms in the house seriously smoke-damaged. Neighbouring properties were also affected by the smoke. Since the blaze, the family have been living with relatives.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue’s Group Manager for Prevention, Kirsty McCreesh, has said, ‘This was a really unfortunate accident that has clearly had a significant impact for those involved and thankfully no one was hurt. However, incidents of this kind involving hot waste are something we see quite regularly. We would advise anyone using barbecues, chimneas, fire pits or even log burners and open fires to remain mindful of not just their safe use but the safe disposal of the hot waste too. The waste can remain hot enough to cause a fire for far longer than people realise; if in any doubt, tip it into a metal container in a safe place before ultimately disposing of it. We have lots of guidance on the safe use of barbecues, chimneas etc on our website, where people can go and get our top fire safety tips.’
As previously reported in Lytham St. Anne’s News, local resident Ben Butterworth has kindly started a Go Fund Me initiative to help and support the family at this most distressing time. Ben wrote of the family, ‘(Their) house is completely gutted throughout and they have lost most of their possessions, and with that, their memories. It’s going to be an enormous repair job, and essentially they are having to start again. They have two young children who will have lost most if not all of their toys, and will have a knock on effect to the parents’ working life. I’d like to raise some funds to help them out over the next few months whilst their property is repaired and they can return. Paul is very well known throughout the area, and does so much for the community. It would be amazing if we could give something back. Any donation is most welcomed and appreciated, no matter the value. Thank you.’
At the time of writing nearly £3,000 has been raised towards a target of £5,000. LSA News adds a big thank you to all who have contributed to support the family at this distressing time.
Here is the link for the Go Fund Me page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/local-family-suffer-major-house-fire?utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_source=customer
Featured photograph from the Blackpool Gazette