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Family ‘lucky to be alive’ after Boxing Day fire destroys teen daughter’s room

3 min read

A mum says her family is lucky to be alive after a fire destroyed her daughter's room on Boxing Day.

Krystal Straw was at home when a blaze broke out in 15-year-old Abbie's bedroom at their house in Walker.

Thankfully they managed to get to safety before the flames spread, but all the teen's clothes, belongings and Christmas presents were burned to a crisp, Chronicle Live reports.

Since the blaze friends, neighbours and even complete strangers have rallied round the family offering clothes, toys, presents and cash to help replace what they have lost.

Krystal, 35, from Newcastle, has told of her relief that she and her family are safe and thanked all those who have helped during their hour of need.

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"I do feel lucky to be alive. I know we have lost what we have, but it's not our lives," she said.

Before the fire started Krystal had been downstairs with five-year-old daughter Ava, while Abbie was upstairs in her room with boyfriend Rhys Davison.

At around 9.30pm the mum went upstairs, where 15-year-old Rhys had been asleep, and asked the young couple to come down to the living room so they could all spend the evening together.

But soon after Krystal began to notice a burning smell, and when she went to check Abbie's bedroom she found it engulfed by flames.

"There were flames right up the windows, and when I opened the door it got worse," Krystal explained.

The terrified mum slammed the door and raced downstairs to get her family out the house.

"I was hysterical," she said. "I was just shouting; 'get out, get out'."

The family managed to escape the house before firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze.

But they are now coming to terms with the fact that pretty much everything in Abbie's bedroom, including all her clothes, furniture and new Christmas presents, has been destroyed.

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And the rest of the house, which has been the family's home for five years, has been heavily smoke damaged.

Krystal, Abbie, Ava and Rhys are now staying with Krystal's mum Janice Taylor while they wait to discover if they will be able to return to their home.

After the fire a fundraising page was set-up on the online giving site GoFundMe, and more than £1,400 has now been donated to help the family get back on their feet.

As news of the blaze spread around Walker, the community has responded by giving them clothes, gifts and other essentials to help replace what they have lost.

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"It's been really overwhelming," said Krystal. "People have brought clothes for the little ones, smellies and cash.

"I feel grateful to live in Walker. Something like this shows you have got that support around you. It brings out the best in the community."

Krystal is also thankful that she chose to wake Rhys up when she did, and that Abbie and Ava were not in their rooms when the fire broke out.

"Ava would normally be in bed at that time, but she was up late because it was Boxing Day. And if I hadn't asked Abbie and Rhys to come down they would have still been up there."

Firefighters believe the fire was started by an extension lead that had been overloaded.

A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: "Our crews from Byker attended and there was also a fire engine from Wallsend. All the residents were safely out of the house. We used four breathing apparatus and four hose reels.

"The cause was an extension cable within one of the bedrooms that had been accidentally overloaded."

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