October 1st, 2016

Hollywood mum whose home was destroyed in arson attack pleads to be rehoused elsewhere

Hollywood mum whose home was destroyed in arson attack pleads to be rehoused elsewhere Hollywood mum whose home was destroyed in arson attack pleads to be rehoused elsewhere
Updated: 4:12 pm, Apr 08, 2016

A SINGLE mum who lost everything in a house fire caused by suspected arson is pleading with the authorities to re-house her elsewhere.

Rachel Gibbs from Wythall said she was afraid to go back to the same place because she did not want to risk the safety of her two children aged two and four.

The whole block of flats in Shawfield Road, Hollywood, had to be evacuated when the fire began, some time between midnight and 12.13am last Sunday (March 27).

Garden furniture was set alight on the first floor balcony after an accelerant was poured on it. The fire quickly became ferocious, leading to a full evacuation of the entire block of flats. Extensive damage was caused to the property and communal areas.

Rachel said, after the incident, Bromsgrove District Housing Trust moved the family into a hotel while it looked for temporary accommodation. That is where the family will stay until her original flat is habitable.

The 24-year old told the Standard: “I don’t want to keep uprooting my children and we don’t want to go back to a place where we all could have been killed. We’re all completely traumatised by what happened.

“I woke up to crackling sounds coming from the balcony.

“I walked over and saw really high flames and got the kids out as fast as I could.

“The whole place just blew up. We’ve lost absolutely everything.”

Rachel said the fire was the second catastrophe to occur in a matter of weeks after a blocked toilet in a flat above flooded her flat with sewage.

She said: “It’s cost me thousands of pounds to replace carpets and buy new furniture and now this.”

Police have confirmed they are investigating an incident of suspected arson to the block of flats on Shawfield Road and have asked any witnesses to come forward with information by calling 101 and quoting reference S5.

John Whitwarm, head of housing solutions at bdht, said the trust sympathised with the three families affected.

“We took immediate and positive steps to secure emergency hotel accommodation for the families on the day of the fire and we are now actively looking for alternative temporary accommodation whilst their properties are being repaired.

“Nevertheless, we are reliant on suitable properties becoming available within our stock that meets each of the affected families’ need.”

He added the trust empathised with Miss Gibbs’ situation and request.

“We will continue to support and work with her and all of the tenants who were affected by the fire in order to find a positive housing solution.

“This must be balanced against the needs of the 1,655 households waiting for a housing association property in the Bromsgrove area.”

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