Easter in caravan after house blaze

A RETIRED couple spent Easter in a caravan on their drive after a fire devastated their home in Nuthall.

The kitchen in Peter and Sandra Newton’s home, was gutted and much of the rest of the house left black with soot.

Mrs Newton, 62, said the fire started after she went out, having forgotten she had left the gas cooker on, boiling dog meat.

She left husband Peter, 74, watching TV in the lounge. By the time he smelled smoke from the kitchen, it was too late. He tried to put damp towels over the flames, burning his hands, before being forced back.

He managed to get out with the couple’s six Irish setters before dialling 999 and calling his wife to tell her to come home.

Mrs Newton said: “When he rang and told me I thought he was joking. I thought he was just giving me a scare because I’d left the cooker on, but then I could tell in his voice he wasn’t.

“I raced home and there were four fire engines and 14 firemen there.”

Mrs Newton had to be held back after being told that one of the couple’s dogs, eight-year-old Evie, had run back into the house. Firefighters managed to resue her, along with the couple’s five other dogs.

“The cleaning company has written off a lot of stuff we thought we could fix,” said Mrs Newton. “It’s a mess really. Apparently it’s going to be six months before we can go back.

“It’s upsetting, what has happened, but at least everyone is okay,” she added.

Crews from Stockhill and Arnold were called to the fire at about 7.20pm on Good Friday.

Mr Newton, 74, said: “I had been watching a few programmes on TV and realised I could smell smoke. I went into the next room where the dogs are kept and it was thick with smoke. I could tell it was coming from the kitchen.

“I tried to put the flames out but the fire was starting to really catch hold. I knew I had to get out.

“The ceiling rose in the next room melted – that’s how intense the heat was.”

The couple have taken two dogs to their daughter’s home, and two more to a friend’s. The other two, including Evie, are staying with them.

Mrs Newton said: “They are show dogs. I was out on Friday preparing for a show.”