Landlord helps out victims of Lowestoft New Year fire
- Credit: James Bass
When their homes were left severely damaged by a large flat fire, these tenants thought they might be left with nowhere to live.
But today brothers Ben and Josh Taylor and their neighbour Belle Smith give a heartfelt thank-you to their quick-thinking landlord who found them new accommodation within hours, preventing them from being left homeless for the New Year.
The blaze – believed to have been caused by a candle – broke out in one of the flats in Victoria Terrace, Kirkley, Lowestoft at 1.38pm on New Year's Eve. The occupant of the flat managed to escape but a puppy died in the incident.
After waiting hours to get back inside, the neighbours discovered their homes were uninhabitable, as water and smoke had damaged neighbouring properties.
But landlord Hanif Jaffer (pictured) – who works for Blackmore Management Ltd, which is responsible for the properties – worked New Year's Eve and New Year's Day to put them into other vacant properties, ensuring heating and electric was connected, finding them sofas and beds to sleep on and even buying one of them a Chinese takeaway.
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Josh Taylor, 20, said: 'It's a relief that Hanif has helped us, and so quickly as well.
'I thought I would have to go to a friend's but he got a place sorted out within 45 minutes to an hour.'
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Ben Taylor, 22, added: 'Hanif has been one of the best landlords I've had. He does help his tenants and they are his first priority. He was supposed to be having family for the New Year, but he helped us get our feet on the ground.'
Belle Smith spent the night sleeping on her daughter's sofa after her flat was left completely waterlogged. However, Mr Jaffer rehoused her in a property in Wellington Esplanade the following morning.
She said she felt relieved to have been re-homed so quickly, adding: 'Hanif made sure everything was in place – and he even bought me dinner.'
Mr Jaffer added: 'The fire has left the building in quite a bad way. The ceiling of the top floor will have to re-wired. It could take months to repair the properties.' He added that the repair bill could run into thousands of pounds.
Mr Jaffer was just about to go into town shopping on New Year's Eve when he noticed thick black smoke coming out of the windows of one of the properties.
After dialling 999, he rushed inside the burning building and knocked on the doors of the flats to check no-one was inside before four fire crews from Lowestoft north and south fire stations began to tackle the blaze.
A person inside the flat where the fire started had already been led to safety by neighbours.
Have you been affected by the blaze? Contact Andrew Papworth on 01502 525825 or email firstname.lastname@example.org