A WOMAN left devastated after her house burned down, killing her four cats, is calling for compensation.
A faulty fuse box was to blame for the blaze at Leigh Thompson’s house in Deneside, Seghill.
The fire it started ripped through the property, leaving it extensively damaged, as well as killing her four pedigree cats and making her temporarily homeless.
Leigh, currently living a street away in Trinity Grove while her former house is repaired, was lucky not to be at home at the time of the blaze in December.
The 59-year-old had not taken out house insurance, so she is now calling on Homes for Northumberland to provide her with compensation to pay for new furniture once she is able to move back in.
“When I got the call to say my house was on fire, I thought it was a joke,” she said.
“I came onto the estate, and there was smoke billowing down the street.”
Leigh was told the fire was started by a fuse box underneath her stairs fitted in February 2011.
“When you have a new fuse box put in, you expect it to last longer than 11 months,” she said.
“They said if it was faulty, I should have complained, but I didn’t know it was faulty until it caught fire and burned my house down.
“The council are fixing the house for me and have admitted the fuse box is their responsibility, so why can’t they admit liability?
“I just want some compensation, so I can buy furniture and get back in my house. I don’t want to buy fur-lined knickers.
“I just want to be able to furnish my home and get it back to how it was before.”
“I want the council to admit the damage, and I feel as though I should be compensated because it wasn’t my fault.
“I had a lovely home, and all of it just went, just like that.
“They said they would repair the house to make it liveable, but I’m still not in.
“The carpets were just black. When my partner took the cats’ bodies away, you could see the imprint of where they were curled up. You could even see the marks where their whiskers had been.
“It was absolutely horrific. I wouldn’t even wish that on my ex-husband.
“I am just hoping and praying I can get back into my house soon and get back to normality. It’s been six months.
“I felt so guilty because I was okay but my animals had died – they rely on me – but as my daughter said to me, if I had been in that house, I would have been dead.
“I am lucky I wasn’t in, but it doesn’t make me feel any less guilty that the cats lost their lives.” Leigh now has two new Siamese cats but still misses the pets she lost.
Kevin Lowry, interim managing director of Homes for Northumberland, said: “We have supported Mrs Thompson since the fire which made her homeless, providing temporary accommodation and the basics she needs to live, including key pieces of furniture and equipment.
“We have sympathy for her position, but we always advise tenants to take out suitable insurance.
“If we were to receive a claim, we would investigate it in conjunction with our insurers.”