A CHARITY worker has told the Advertiser she is lucky to be alive after her boiler blew up starting a blaze that gutted her Trowell home.
Susan Bartle turned on the central heating system at her house on Trowell Grove so she could run a bath.
But before she had chance she had a phone call and had to nip out. Eight minutes later neighbours heard an explosion and saw flames ripping through Susan and her husband John’s home of 25 years.
She said: “I just can’t believe how lucky I was – the fireman said to me if I’d have been in the bath I wouldn’t be here today.
“I’ve lost everything but at least I’m still here.
“My favourite song is Don’t Worry Be Happy, I’ve been singing it to myself ever since.”
As soon as neighbours noticed the flames they called 999 and one grabbed a sledge hammer and smashed his way into the conservatory to save Susan’s cat and dog.
Susan said: “I had a call and raced back to the house, when I got there my cat was wrapped in a blanket and being given oxygen.
“The fireman came over and told me the house and everything in it was wrecked.
“I lost everything my photos, furniture, appliances, I’d only just had all of the downstairs decorated but I have to laugh or I’ll crack up.
“At least I’m still here.”
John was working away at the time of the fire and had to be called to come home.
Susan said: “I had to get our son to phone John, he couldn’t believe it. He works away a lot and has to go back this week so I’ll be sorting everything out while he’s gone.”
Since the blaze Susan, who works at the Arena Hope charity shop in Ilkeston, has been staying at her daughter’s Sandiacre home while friends have rallied round to clear up the damage caused by the fire and start to make the house liveable again.
She hopes to move back into one of the bedrooms this week.
She said: “The first time I went back in I couldn’t believe it, the fire crew said they couldn’t believe how quickly it must have gone up.”
The couple will have to replace all of their furniture, fittings and redecorate out of their own pocket as they were in the middle of sorting out an insurance policy at the time of the fire.
Susan said: “I’ve been surprised at the lack of any official support for victims of a house fire.
“It leaves you with nothing but the clothes you’re standing in and there’s nowhere I can go for help.
“I’m determined to sort something out when I’m back on my feet.”