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Fire rips through homes


A couple say their life has been left devastated after a fire tore through the block of flats in which they lived.

Retained fire crews from Tuxford and Edwinstowe, as well as two whole-time crews from Retford, and the area ladder platform from Mansfield, were called to the block of six flats on Whinney Lane, Ollerton, at 11.17pm on Tuesday.

Mr and Mrs Alan Short were two of nine people evacuated safely from the flats.

The alarm was raised by Mr Short, who said it was only luck that no one was seriously injured.

He fears the fire had destroyed their wedding photographs and vital immigration documents that showed his Filipina wife, Mrs Evelyn Short, was able to stay in the country.

Mr Short (51) who is unemployed because of medical problems, said he heard a loud banging noise so went to his front door to check it out.

He said: “I opened the door and there was this very loud bang, and all the windows upstairs just exploded out.

“Luckily I had stayed under the porch, otherwise shards of burning glass would have hit me in the face.”

He said he ran inside to get his mobile telephone so he could dial 999 and shouted fire.

The flat where the fire started was empty at the time.

Mr Short said another neighbour came out to ask what was going on.

“I just shouted that there was a fire and told him to get as far away as possible,” he said.

“Flames were just tearing through the roof.”

Mrs Short (37) who is studying childcare at the Dukeries College, said: “It was all very scary. I thought someone was banging on the door several times, but we came outside to see flames shooting out of the windows and the roof.”

Mr Short said: “We had such a lovely wedding in Cyprus but those photographs could be lost forever.

“It is things like that which are important to us, and not just stuff like clothing.”

The couple stayed the night at the home of a neighbour, Mr Norman Fletcher, but were waiting to see if their landlord, Nottingham Community Housing Association, could rehouse them.

The regional housing manager for NCHA, Mr Hamish Adams, said they were working with police and fire investigators to establish the cause of the fire, but they could not speculate if it was down to a faulty boiler or not.

He said they were not sure how long refurbishment would take but they were contacting tenants who, if they could not stay with family or friends, could be offered short-term accommodation in local bed and breakfasts.

Mr Adams said tenants mightenlist the help of the Newark and Sherwood District Council who could provide hostel accommodation.

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said the Fire Investigation Team was not treating the incident as suspicious.

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