Neighbour torches family’s home as he smokes out wasps

A FAMILY returned from holiday to find their house had burned down after a neighbour tried to smoke out a wasps’ nest with a blazing rag soaked in inflammable liquid. | Date: 31 January 2014

fireLyndsey Brealey, 27, and her daughters Ellie, seven, and Nicole, 11, have been left homeless by the fire that gutted the top floor of their end terrace.

A neighbour had doused a rag on the end of a pole in white spirit before setting it alight and shoving it into a gap in a cavity wall that contained a wasps’ nest.

A sudden gust of wind stoked the flames and the panicking neighbour dialled 999.

Ten firefighters spent almost an hour tackling the blaze which torched Ms Brealey’s home in ­Sherwood, Notts, but left the ­neighbour’s intact.

Ms Brealey said: “The first thing I noticed was the upstairs curtains. I remember drawing them before we left and there was nothing in the window. I rushed in to see everything smoke-damaged and burnt. The smell was horrible. Ellie ran up to her room and was so upset. Her toys and clothes were damaged.”

Tearful Ellie also discovered her hamster had died in the fire.

“But if Ellie had been in the bedroom it could have been so much worse,” said her mother. “I just don’t want to think about what could have happened.”

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Yesterday the neighbour, who would not give his name, said: “It was just a big accident. There had been a wasps’ nest in the wall ­cavity for some time and I decided to try to smoke them out. I got a rag and put some spirit on it, then put that on the end of a pole.

“A bit of wind came and the fire just got out of control very quickly. I was surprised by how quickly it all happened.”

Nottinghamshire Fire and ­Rescue said: “We would advise residents to not attempt smoking out a wasps’ nest but to contact pest control ­officers.”

Ms Brealey and her daughters are staying with a relative.