A PONTYPOOL mother has spoken about the importance of checking your smoke alarms after her family narrowly escaped from a house fire.

Claire Harris, 49, had just left her house, on Blaendare Road, when she got a call from her daughter saying the house was on fire.

Fire crews from Cwmbran, Maindee and Malpas attended the fire around lunchtime on Tuesday, February 11.

And now, Ms Harris has stressed the importance of checking your smoke alarms, saying without theirs, her daughter might not be alive.


"My 25-year-old daughter was asleep and we were getting ready to take my other daughter, who’s 13, to the doctors," she said.

"We got in the car and got to the end of the road, when I got a phone call from my daughter, who said all the smoke alarms were going off. She opened her bedroom door and there was black smoke everywhere.

"I drove back like a bat out of hell and she was standing outside with our puppies. There was smoke coming out through all the windows.

"Within seconds there was smoke everywhere. You couldn’t get back in there.

"The fire engines arrived so quickly with the ambulance and paramedics. We can’t praise them enough. The guy in charge said we had been lucky, as another two minutes and the whole house could have gone up.

"We believe it was an extension lead that must have been faulty and started the fire.

"If our smoke alarms weren’t working - I don’t want to think what could have happened.

"I’m trying to stay positive and think how lucky we are. It could have been so much worse.

"Her bedroom is just black. She had a new TV for Christmas and that’s melted, and so has her computer. We kept all our clothes in her bedroom as she had a big slider wardrobe.

"The rest of the house is smoke damaged and it stinks. I’ll have to rip out all the carpets."

As Ms Harris did not have contents insurance, her friends set up an fundraising page on Facebook to help replace their damaged possessions.

"I kick myself for not getting it," said Ms Harris.

"My friends put together a fundraising page on Facebook. I’m so overwhelmed with the way people have come out to help us. People have gone out of their way to help us."

The Facebook fundraiser raised more than £1,000 in two days, and currently stands at £1,405.

Ms Harris said she hoped sharing her story would get people to check their fire alarms.

"I’d advise everyone to make sure you’ve got contents insurance, as you never know when something like this will happen," she said.

"And most importantly, people should check their fire alarms. If ours weren’t working, my daughter might not be here with us now."