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Community praised for support by Sovereign Housing
A mother and her child escaped unharmed from a fire which ripped through their Sherston home.
The blaze broke out in an upstairs bedroom at the house of Liz Walker and her son Ryan, in Butlers Close, at about 5.15pm on Tuesday.
According to neighbours, it gutted the property in a matter of minutes.
Fire crews from across the county, including Malmesbury, Swindon, Stratton, Corsham, as well as from Yate and Cirencester, fought for six hours to put out the blaze and avoid it spreading to the house next door.
A Red Cross victim support unit was also sent to assist the family.
The neighbouring property, which was also evacuated, suffered only water damage.
The scene on Wednesday morning was one of devastation, with the windows blackened, the roof caved in and the supporting walls beginning to subside.
Grant Aldrick, who lives opposite, said: “My son was in his bedroom playing computer games. He looked out the window and shouted down to me that there were flames coming from the house.
“I thought he was making a mountain out of a molehill but went to check anyway.
“Immedietely I told my wife to phone the fire brigade.
“I ran across the street and went to go inside because I thought there could be people stuck in there.
“But someone shouted at me and I realised they were already out.”
Mr Aldrick said Mrs Walker and her son had come back from shopping, opened the front door and heard a noise upstairs.
They thought it could be a burglar so she went up to check and realised the full extent of what was happening.
Craig Outlaw, who lives next door but whose property is not joined to the Walkers’, said: “I was in at the time. There was smoke everywhere and the smell was unbelievable.
“You could see the flames coming out and all the windows were open, which didn’t help.
“You wouldn’t believe how quickly it was gutted, it took no time at all.”
Mrs Walker and her son are staying with friends.
A fire investigator was at the scene on Wednesday to try to determine the cause of the blaze, which is thought to have been accidental.
Roy Probert, of Sovereign Housing, said: “The property was severely damaged during the fire and is no longer habitable.
“The two neighbouring homes are also currently uninhabitable due to fire and smoke damage or the risk of the neighbouring property collapsing.
“Sovereign was on site last night supporting the fire service. Our priority, in addition to helping to secure the properties, has been to ensure that the residents of these properties have alternative accommodation.
“All the affected residents made arrangements last night to stay with friends or family.
"Our housing team has spoken to them this morning to understand their immediate accommodation needs and longer-term plans.
“Sovereign would like to thank the local community for the outstanding support they have given to affected residents at this difficult time.”
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