Mother and son 'left homeless' after they lose everything in Sheffield house blaze
A mother has told how she and her young son had to declare themselves as homeless after they 'lost everything' in a blaze that ripped through their Sheffield home.
Full-time mum Jessica Reid, aged 26, grabbed her seven-year-old son Tyler after hearing 'what sounded like a huge bang' from around the boiler and fled the property in Woodrove Close, Woodthorpe.
They both watched on in their pyjamas from the garden as the thick black smoke spread throughout the home, destroying virtually all of their belongings.
The Acis Group housing association, which maintained the property, paid for the two of them to stay in a budget hotel.
But Ms Reid claims the company then told them they had to leave after a couple of nights and had to present themselves as homeless to the council.
She said: "It was all very stressful, we were both shocked. We lost almost everything.
"I couldn't believe it when they said we have to say we are homeless. They said they didn't have any alternative housing, but the fire wasn't our fault.
"I didn't know what to do, it made me petrified."
The blaze happened in the morning on Friday, August 25, and they spent a few night at the Premier Inn in Sheffield city centre.
Jessica and Tyler went to the council on the following Monday and asked for housing.
They were offered a place in Shalesmoor but turned it down as it was too far away from Tyler's school at Woodhouse and their 'support network' of family and friends.
Jessica said they went back to Acis and they eventually arranged for them to stay at a Travelodge on Prince of Wales Road, where they have been living ever since.
The young mum said: "The housing association have been good with paying for the hotel in the end, but it is strange being here.
"It has all just been a big shock. Acis said they will be able to have the house ready again for October 20 but I don't know what we will do next."
She added a fire service investigator said the blaze had started in an area of wiring near the boiler.
Jessica told how the property was unfurnished and so contained a lot of their belongings, including clothes, bedding, a settee and Tyler's toys - all of which had to be thrown out due to smoke damage.
But the community has rallied round since the blaze and donated clothing and toys. Woodhouse West Primary School have also donated a PE kit and uniform to Tyler.
Jessica said: "It's really nice that people would do such a thing. We have been sent clothes, shoes, household goods like a microwave and a kettle. Loads of people have helped us, it's been amazing."
An Acis spokesman said: "Following a fire at one of our customers’ homes, we immediately put plans in place to rehome her and her family while investigations and repairs are undertaken.
"As we don’t currently have any empty homes nearby, we offered temporary hotel accommodation immediately and informed the customer of the process needed to go through to be rehomed in the area.
"We have apologised to our customer for the inconvenience this situation has caused and have been communicating with her daily to ensure she is continually aware of what we’re doing to rectify the situation.”