Fresh calls for CCTV following house fire

Brought to you by the News Post Leader.
Brought to you by the News Post Leader.

Residents in an area of sheltered housing in Blyth are calling for CCTV cameras to be installed as police continue to investigate a fire at one of the properties.

A wheelie bin outside a house in Alwinton Close was ablaze in the early hours of Tuesday, September 5, and it soon spread to the front of the bungalow.

Resident Elaine Livingstone says she does not feel safe at the moment and a neighbour has claimed the area is being targeted.

All those living in Alwinton Close and the Alwinton Court retirement housing, managed by Bernicia, are pensioners.

Elaine said her husband Bill got up to go to the toilet at about 2am and then went to investigate what he could hear and smell.

When he went to fill a tub with water to put the fire out in one wheelie bin, the other wheelie bin was ablaze and the fire had reached the front door.

The insulation of the loft was starting to burn when a fire engine arrived.

Elaine added: “We’ve suffered smoke damage, the carpets are ruined and the new tumble dryer we recently purchased can no longer be used.

“It’s a very frightening situation and we don’t feel safe given that other incidents have happened in this area over recent months. What does sheltered mean?

“We pay towards the maintenance of this area, so it’s fair for us to demand that CCTV cameras are installed. It will help give us some peace of mind.”

Neighbour James McGlen said he has also asked for CCTV. He added that the fire was a ‘terrifying sight’ and if the fire engine had turned up a minute later, ‘the roofs of their house and the adjoining properties would have been ablaze’.

Jeannie McMillan, director of housing services at Bernicia, said: “Prior to this recent incident, we had commenced discussions with residents concerning the installation of CCTV.

“We have a further meeting with the police to assess the benefit of CCTV as a deterrent and we have also agreed alternative bin collection arrangements with Northumberland County Council.

“We are committed to providing safe, secure and peaceful living environments and hope these measures will provide further assurance to our residents.”

A Northumbria Police spokesman said inquiries are on-going into the incident

Officers are appealing for people with any information to call 101 – quoting log 86 of 05/09/17.