By SUZANNAH HILLS
Tragic: Dora the cat, suspected of starting the blaze, died in the fire
Pet kittens have been blamed for sparking a blaze that burned down a young family’s home causing £250,000 of damage.
Fire investigators believe the tabby cats, Jesse and Dora, may have walked across a touch-sensitive hob in the kitchen - turning it on.
The cats’ owners, Reina and Andrew Ainscough, were visiting relatives for New Year with their young twins when the blaze broke out.
The fire ripped through their home and quickly spread to the neighbouring property in Lowton, near Leigh, Greater Manchester, amounting to £250,000 of damage.
The kittens both died in the blaze.
Mr Ainscough, 28, who runs a staffing agency with his wife, said: 'It’s just such a freak incident.
'They can’t be sure what caused it yet but it is possible it could have been the cats.'
The family are currently staying with relatives while the damage is assessed by insurers.
Their twin son and daughter, Kian and Darcy, had been due to start nursery in Salford, this week but their uniforms and clothes were destroyed.
Mrs Ainscough, 27, added: 'It was so lucky that no one was in the house at the time. It could have happened at any time and I’m glad we weren’t in.'
Roofless: Severe damage was caused to the roof
The fire quickly spread to the house next door, which was also unoccupied as the owners were in the process of selling the house, and had moved out just two days before the incident.
Firefighters stayed on the scene for around 12 hours but it is likely the entire building will still have to be pulled down.
Reina and Andrew Ainscough in front of their home gutted by a fire
Fire investigators said the cause was still to be determined but confirmed they were looking at the possibility one of the kittens had jumped on to the cooker and activated the hob.
Watch manager at Leigh Fire Station, Steve Patterson, said: 'Damage to both houses is extensive. I would think that the whole building will have to be torn down.'
Gutted: More than £250,000 of damage was caused to the Ainscough's home and their neighbour's property
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Who’s a naughty kitty? Pet cat walking across cooker blamed for starting £250,000 blaze that destroyed two houses
By SUZANNAH HILLS