Family left with ‘only the clothes on our backs’ after devastating fire at house

Family left with ‘only the clothes on our backs’ after devastating fire at house

A mum and her three children were forced to climb out of an upstairs window to escape their home during a “terrifying” fire which destroyed all of their possessions.

Jessica Howston and her family have been left with nothing but the clothes they were wearing after the blaze broke out on the ground floor at their home in Reading, Berkshire, on February 25.

They will be unable to return for at least six months and the fire was likely caused by an electrical fault, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue have said.

Jessica, who has taken her traumatised children to temporarily live with her parents, said she had a “meltdown” after making it out of the fire.

“It was just terrifying. We were in one of the bedrooms and I realised we had to get out,” she explained.

“The house was full of smoke, you couldn’t see to the bottom of the stairs.

“I think I went into some sort of survival mode and we managed to get out of a window onto the roof of an extension.

“One of our neighbours helped us out of the back garden and we were then able to see the ambulance staff.”

None of the family were injured in the incident, but the children have found the aftermath extremely traumatic, Jessica said.

She said they have been left with “only the clothes on our backs”.

The home was rented and the estate agent in charge has offered the family a temporary home.

But Jessica claims the home is “totally unsuitable” and has called on Reading Borough Council for help.

She said: “The home we’ve been offered is not suitable for us, my three-year-old is expected to walk up massive flights of metal steps to get into it.

“We’re staying with my parents for now, which is far from ideal.

“We could really do with some help from the council.”

She said: “I’m very thankful for all the help we’ve received.

“The fire service has been brilliant and we have had so many donations for me and the children.”

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