A MUM told today how she is lucky to be alive after she and her daughter had to flee their blazing home.
Katrina Walmsley had a lucky escape after the fire ripped through her kitchen as she and six-year-old daughter Charlee-Tia Robson were sleeping upstairs.
The 39-year-old woke to the sound of the smoke alarm, which had only been fixed three days earlier, and raced downstairs to discover a blaze in her kitchen.
She ran back upstairs and grabbed her sleeping daughter before fleeing their Washington home.
Katrina, of Richardson Terrace, Concord, said: “When I saw it I didn’t know what to think. I was just panicking because it was such a shock.
“There was a lot of black smoke coming from the kitchen, leaking out of the bottom of the door so I pushed it open to have a peek inside and the hi-fi and cupboards and everything were up in flames.
“I keep thinking it might have been a completely different story if I hadn’t had the smoke alarm fixed and I can’t stop thinking of that family down south last week.
“Five children were killed and the mum died too. That could have been us.”
The blaze, which happened at about 8am on Monday, destroyed many personal items that were dear to Katrina as well as ruining her home.
She said: “There were loads of personal items in there that I’ve just lost and can’t get back.
“There was all of my photos, money I had in the cupboards and other things that can never be replaced. It’s awful.”
The house that Katrina has lived in for four years has been so badly damaged she is having to stay with friends while it is repaired.
Keith Carruthers, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service district manager for Sunderland, said: “Katrina and her daughter were extremely lucky to escape from the house unscathed. There is no doubt this could have easily ended in tragedy had they not had a working smoke alarm.”
An investigation revealed an electrical fault caused the fire.