Rousdon mum who lost cherished memories in flat blaze heaps praise on firefighters and community

PUBLISHED: 09:00 28 January 2020

The home of Christina Hankin (pictured) was destroyed in a blaze at Rousdon last week. Picture: Matthew Lee / Christina Hankin

The home of Christina Hankin (pictured) was destroyed in a blaze at Rousdon last week. Picture: Matthew Lee / Christina Hankin

Archant

A Rousdon mum has described her devastation after losing cherished mementos – including her late father’s watch – in a blaze which tore through her house.

Building on fire at Rousdon. Picture: Nicola DownBuilding on fire at Rousdon. Picture: Nicola Down

Christina Hankin's flat was destroyed by fire, smoke and water damage after flame engulfed the Rousdon Village Bakery on January 21.

The 28-year-old and her two children were made homeless after fire chiefs deemed the flat and its contents irretrievable.

They have since moved into her mum's house as they try to piece their life back together.

Miss Hankin said: "Thankfully my children weren't in the property.

Fire at Rousdon. Picture: Matthew LeeFire at Rousdon. Picture: Matthew Lee

"I have lost sentimental items. My father passed away and I had put his watch on the kitchen side as it needed a new battery.

"I lost my daughter's very first painting which was in the kitchen.

"The rest of it is stuff, but you can't replace the sentimental things. Thankfully, no-one was hurt as you certainly can't replace a life."

Miss Hankin was taking her children to school when she received a call from her landlord, informing her that smoke was pouring out of the unit.

Damage to Christina Hankin's flat following the blaze. Picture: Christina Hankin.Damage to Christina Hankin's flat following the blaze. Picture: Christina Hankin.

Brushing it off as burnt bread in the bakery, she only realised the gravity of the situation when she returned to the scene.

The fire, the cause of which is still under investigation, spread to Miss Hankin's property following a large sound similar to an explosion.

At one point, there were 10 fire appliances and around 40 firefighters tackling the blaze, which spread to the roof of the three-storey building.

Miss Hankin said: "At first, there was quite a lot of smoke but my property, at that point, was not on fire.

The charred remains of an iPad. Picture: Christina Hankin.The charred remains of an iPad. Picture: Christina Hankin.

"The fire then spread - one minute it looked fine and the next minute you heard this boom and that was that."

Miss Hankin has praised the community and firefighters who responded to the blaze, and said the outpouring of support from residents - who donated clothes and toys to her children - added some comfort to the situation.

She said: "I cannot thank everyone enough.

"The firefighters were absolutely fantastic, flawless.

Damage to Christina Hankin's flat following the blaze. Picture: Christina Hankin.Damage to Christina Hankin's flat following the blaze. Picture: Christina Hankin.

"None of them were thinking twice about doing their jobs - they just cracked on with it. The entire community pulled together to help the fire crews and each other."

Miss Hankin also praised her landlord, adding: "Despite the fact his garage was also severely damaged by the fire, he has been so supportive during this whole time. "

Miss Hankin said she intends to move back into the property once it is repaired.


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