South East Wales

Alina Joseph's anguish over son's Hirwaun house fire call

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Media captionAlina Joseph describes seeing her home on fire

A mother has described the panic she went through after her son phoned to say there was a fire at their home.

Alina Joseph, 38, from Hirwaun, Rhondda Cynon Taff, was working three miles (5km) away at Tesco, Aberdare.

Her son Christian, 19, called to say their shed was on fire and he and his six siblings fled, shortly before the blaze spread to the house.

Emergency services were called to Saturday's blaze, which quickly spread through the house and its roof.

"I was just about to go and see one of my managers and I just lifted up my phone and the first thing I saw was my eldest son's number," she told BBC Radio Wales' Good Morning Wales programme.

"The first thing I could hear was him screaming on the phone 'mum the shed is on fire'.

Image copyright Alina Joseph
Image caption Alina Joseph and her children Christian, 19, Daniel, 18, Glody, 17, Harley, 15, Christopher, 12, Blessing, eight, and Isaac, five, are now living with friends

"Because Tesco is such a big store you can't just panic, or people look at you crazy.

"I just walked out of the store slowly, got into the car while still talking to my son. I was trying to keep calm so he would be calm and try to explain to me what was going on."

Ms Joseph said she knew everyone was away from the property and that fire crews had been called.

'He just started crying'

But as she was retuning home she saw the smoke.

"I just called him straight away again," she added.

"I said 'Is everybody still ok?' and he just started crying. He's one of those children that doesn't cry, He always tries to remain strong. He said 'Mum, the house is burning'.

"He said the fire from the shed was too strong and it blew into the house.

"The house was in such as blaze, the fire brigade were there trying to do whatever they could. It kept going. It was just crazy.

Image copyright Sharon Hawkings/JustGiving
Image caption The roof of the house was destroyed in the fire

"I didn't know how I got home so quickly. I got out of the car and I'm usually the one who's in control.

"People were just coming into my ears. Everything was happening at the same time. People were telling me they've got my children."

"I was looking at my house thinking I should be able to do something."

Image copyright Michael Prosser
Image caption Flames engulfed the house on Saturday afternoon

Cynon Taf Community Housing Group, which owns the house, has offered the family two temporary homes, but they are staying with friends to avoid being split up.

Neighbours have collected donations for the family who did not have any insurance to replace their lost possessions.

Bags of clothes and food have been given, items of furniture have been promised for when they get a new home, and more than £300 was raised online.

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