Wrekin customer urges others to take up home contents insurance offer

A Wrekin customer who lost everything in a house fire has shared her story in the hope of encouraging other people to take out home insurance.

Kirsty Brummell and her young daughter had been living in their home for 18 months, when what should have been a joyful day in July 2022 took a nightmarish turn.

It was her daughter’s seventh birthday, and Kirsty wanted to surprise her with a cake.

She went into her bedroom and lit the candles before placing the lighter onto the bed and walking to the living room.

But what she didn’t know was that the heat from the lighter had caused the bed to catch fire.

Kirsty said: “My daughter blew out the candles, and then the smoke alarm started going off. I just thought it was because she had blown out the candles, so I was just trying to waft it away.

“Then I just had a bad feeling, so I opened the door towards my bedroom and hall, and I just saw this big orange light. I could feel the heat hit me as soon as I opened the door.

“I walked into my room and my bed was in flames.”

“I didn’t really know what to do. I was panicking. I took a towel to try and hit the fire to get it out, but obviously that didn’t work.

“I shouted to my daughter get out of the house. She ran out but I was still trying to put out the fire somehow.”

Kirsty soon realised the fire was out of control, and ran outside to phone 999.

She said: “I was really panicking. I was hysterical outside on the phone, screaming and crying.

“My neighbours were watching and it was just awful, the worst experience of my life.

“I was just watching my house burn down, the windows were turning black, the blinds were falling down, and I just felt so awful because my daughter was watching it as well.

“We lost everything that day, all my daughter’s birthday presents, all our clothes, everything.

“My heart just stopped. It was the worst thing that I’d ever felt.”

Kirsty waited at a neighbour’s house, watching on helplessly as black smoke billowed out of the roof, until the fire service arrived and smashed a window to begin extinguishing the flames.

In footage taken when the family was allowed back inside the property days later, the birthday cake is still sitting on the kitchen worktop uneaten, while balloons remain scattered around the smoke-blackened living room.

The mother and daughter were able to return home after six months of repairs, and had to completely rebuild their life as all their belongings had been destroyed.

Kirsty said: “People from around the estate were giving us clothes, toys. All I had was a bin bag of clothes that was salvaged.

“It was really awful knowing that we’d lost everything, especially with my daughter losing all her toys and all her clothes. It was horrible.”

The process was made even more difficult by the fact that Kirsty did not have home contents insurance, meaning that, other than donations, replacement items had to be paid for out of her own pocket.

She said: “I knew that it was available to me but I just put it off. I didn’t think that I needed it, I didn’t think this would happen to me. But it can happen to anyone.

“I just wanted to kick myself. It was really frustrating because I knew that, if I had it, it would still be devastating but the aftermath wouldn’t have been such a massive struggle. I wouldn’t have had to rely on everyone so much to help me.”

She now has a message for other people who have not yet taken out cover: “Definitely get home insurance. For the small payments that you make, it’s worth it if something does happen. You’ll regret not getting it.”

For more information about home contents insurance exclusive to Wrekin customers, click here.

27th June 2024