Cannabis farm fire leaves Burnley family homeless

Samantha Stewart and her children Bailey (9), Harry (2), Phoenix (5) and Emelia (7) who were alerted to a fire in their house by passers-by.
Samantha Stewart and her children Bailey (9), Harry (2), Phoenix (5) and Emelia (7) who were alerted to a fire in their house by passers-by.

A Burnley mum-of-four has told how she and her young children are lucky to be alive after a fire which started in a suspected cannabis farm next door ripped through her house as they slept.

Samantha Stewart (28), who has been left homeless, said the family owe their lives to a man and woman who desperately banged on the front door to alert them to the blaze when they spotted flames shooting from the house, in Wilton Street, at 2-25am last Friday.

“If it wasn’t for them we could be dead. They banged and banged and banged. I heard the banging but I looked at the time and decided to ignore it and go back to sleep but it got louder so I got up. They were shouting that the house was on fire so I grabbed my children as quickly as I could and got out.

“There was fire everywhere, they saved our lives. When I went back to the house after the fire, the ceiling had fallen down onto my children’s beds.

Samantha, who is now staying at a friend’s house with the children, Bailey (9), Emelia-Rae (7), Phoenix (5) and Harry (2), said they lost everything in the fire, including clothes, toys and family photographs.

She also slammed the people responsible for growing cannabis, saying they put their lives at risk.

“They knew there were children living next door. I hate them for what they’ve done, anything could have happened. It was horrible.”

Firefighters battled for several hours to put out the blaze, which also spread to the terraced house on the opposite side to Samantha.

Samantha, a former pupil of Ivy Bank High School, said she is still having nightmares about the fire and what could have happened.

Her landlord said she will not be able to move back into the house for at least nine months and she now has to find alternative accommodation.

“Friends and family have been giving me clothes for the children. I’m going to have to start from scratch. We’ve lost everything but then I think how lucky we are that we’re all still here.”