Cimla fire: Couple return from holiday to damaged home

A couple have told how they returned from holiday to find their home and garden damaged by fire.

David Rees and Sue Thomas were almost two hours from home when they received a video of the blaze at their house in Cimla, Neath, on Thursday.

“It was the longest drive back from west Wales,” Mr Rees said

No-one was injured but Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said three properties on Beacons View had been damaged to “varying degrees”.

Black smoke rising from the area
Black smoke was seen rising from the area

Crews responded just after 17:00 BST, using six breathing apparatus, two main jets, a thermal imaging camera and a pressure ventilation fan to ventilate the houses.

‘Gutted’

Mr Rees said his “mancave” – the shed he built over lockdown – was completely burnt out.

“I’m gutted, absolutely devastated,” he said.

Damaged homes

“My daughter Holly rang me to say there was a fire. She sent me videos.

“It was the longest drive back from west Wales.”

The shed, decking area and the rear of the house has been severely damaged as well as smoke damage inside the property.

Mr Rees’ newly-built “mancave” is now a shell

David’s partner Ms Thomas said the damage was much worse than she had expected.

“It’s a nightmare, but what can you do?” she said.

They said neighbours had been offering support and a council assessor was due at the property on Friday afternoon.

The burnt out shed

“One small grace in all this is that it’s all just stuff,” Mr Rees said.

“It could have been pets or even people, so we’re thankful for that.”

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