Fundraiser set up to support woman whose belongings were dumped after house fire
News | Rhys Williams | Published: 18:30, Friday June 26th, 2020.
Last updated: 09:53, Thursday July 2nd, 2020
A fundraiser has been set up to support a woman whose sentimental family belongings were mistakenly thrown away after a house fire in Caerphilly town.
Tenant Amanda Lloyd was hospitalised and put into a coma following the blaze at her home in February.
Ms Lloyd was left distraught when her belongings were sent to landfill, despite having had reassurances from United Welsh that her family would be able to retrieve the items before work to repair the house began.
Ms Lloyd, who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning and scorched airways during the fire, said: “They’ve thrown away my children’s past.
“There’s not a single trace of our lives left. From pregnancy scans and baby grows, to graduation pictures and rugby caps – every little achievement gone.”
Ms Lloyd also said that jewellery belonging to her late mother was thrown away.
Ms Lloyd’s 18-year-old son and 26-year-old daughter were told by their housing officer they would be informed in advance when the house would be cleared out.
But this wasn’t the case, with them only finding out after a neighbour told them the house was being cleared.
Ms Lloyd said her children had only been able to visit the house once to collect a small number of belongings before the remainder of the possessions were dumped in April.
United Welsh offered Ms Lloyd £500 as a gesture of goodwill following the incident, but she said the gesture “isn’t good enough” and that nothing could replace the belongings that had been lost.
Following her release from hospital in March, Ms Lloyd has been temporarily rehoused in Trethomas while work is carried out for her to return to her home.
Ms Lloyd has narcolepsy, which is a sleep disorder, as well as cataplexy, which can cause her to collapse whenever she has strong emotions.
Since being rehoused, she has been in isolation due to the coronavirus outbreak, with her children living elsewhere. It is the first time in 26 years Ms Lloyd has lived on her own.
She said: “What gives anyone the right to round up three people’s lives and throw them out like that?
“To go into someone’s house and bin everything, all because a text message did not get passed on – there’s no excuse.”
Richard Mann, deputy chief executive of United Welsh, said: “We supported Ms Lloyd to safely discharge from hospital, providing suitable temporary accommodation and practical and financial support.
“This included out-of-hours hospital visits to support Ms Lloyd and purchasing new furniture, clothing and other items in goodwill to reduce her distress at a difficult time and to help her to settle more comfortably in her new home before lockdown restrictions ensued.
“We helped Ms Lloyd to move her possessions to her new home and we also set aside a number of salvageable belongings that were identified by Ms Lloyd at her request.
“During this time and in the period after, several conversations were had about the need to move any further belongings from the fire-damaged property ahead of any remedial works, with opportunities provided to do so.”
Mr Mann added: “We recognise that unfortunately, there was a miscommunication due to staff furloughing in response to the coronavirus pandemic, so the deadline date for final removal was not communicated on this occasion.
“£500 was offered in compensation, in addition to the financial support provided at the time of the move and new carpets for the fire-damaged home.”
Mr Mann “sincerely apologised” to Ms Lloyd, and said support would be offered to help her safely return to her home after repairs are completed.
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