Family suspected electrical work caused fire at Pontypool home

A FAMILY who ‘lost everything’ in a fire at their Pontypool home have said they suspect it was caused by electrical work.

The fire broke out at the home on Tranch Road on Friday March 4 when there were seven people – including a 76-year-old woman and two children, both of whom will turn one next week – in the house at the time.

Christine Edwards told the Argus that the hallway filled with smoke within minutes, with the fire spreading throughout the house and blowing through the windows in less than 10 minutes.

“An electrician came on January 24 to light the back door,” Ms Edwards said. “She told my mum she didn’t need to use the switch to use the outside light because it would come on automatically. It doesn’t turn on automatically, she still had to use the switch.

The living room after the fire. Pictured: Maria Richards.

“Last week, my sister came and smelled burnt. We couldn’t see what it was.

“On Friday, the smoke detector went off. We opened the door and the hallway was full of smoke. The electrical cabinet was full of smoke.

“But he didn’t even turn off the electricity.”

Ms Edwards said she wanted an independent electrician to examine the circuit board to try to determine the cause of the fire.

Maria Roberts told the Argus that their mother – who needs a stairlift – had been offered alternative accommodation, but it was in a second-floor apartment.

“We want to know what they plan to do about it,” Ms Roberts said. “We want them to be fair and give him a home while his house is being rebuilt.”

South Wales Argus: The staircase inside the house.  Pictured: Maria Richards.The staircase inside the house. Pictured: Maria Richards.

Ms Edwards said her mother, sister, nieces and nephews – who all live in the house – are currently staying with her.

Emma Fish, housing department manager and contact at Bron Afon, said: “The property was badly damaged by the fire which broke out on Friday afternoon but fortunately no one was injured.

“Colleagues from our Community Housing team have been in close contact with our tenant, who had asked to be relocated near her home. The apartment we originally offered was the only one we had immediately, but we are now working with our tenant and his family to source properties in a wider area that will be more suited to his needs.

South Wales Argus: The house in Tranch Road, Pontypool, after a fire on Friday.The house on Tranch Road, Pontypool, after a fire on Friday.

“We realize how stressful the aftermath of a fire can be, which is why our Torfaen Helpline team members will be in contact with the family to offer whatever support they can during this difficult time.

“We have secured the exterior of the property and will work with our adjusters on the next steps.

“At this time, we do not know the cause of the fire.”

Ms Edwards said she asked for a copy of the last electrical test carried out at home – in 2017 – but was told by Bron Afon she could not. the Argus asked Bron Afon about it, but got no response.

A South Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: ‘At approximately 12.48pm on Friday 4th March we received reports of a fire at a property in Tranch Road in Pontypool .

“Several crews attended the scene and were confronted with a well-developed fire.

“Firefighters used specialist equipment to extinguish the blaze and a stop message was received at 2.31pm.”