A heroic mum has told how she screamed at her children to flee their burning home after a bag of towels “spontaneously combusted”.
Mum-of-three Laura Nani was forced to spring into action following the fire at their home in Kilmarnock on Monday morning.
The 40-year-old today spoke of her astonishment after discovering that the upstairs of her house was completely destroyed because towels had ‘spontaneously combusted’.
Laura revealed that the warning signs of the impending blaze had materialised hours before the fire erupted.
She told the Daily Record : “My fire alarm went off at 2am in my utility room.”
“I could smell burning and my kids could too but we didn’t know where it was coming from. It smelled like someone had extinguished a barbecue.
“I phoned the out of hours service and someone was sent out to check my boiler and to check for carbon monoxide and they couldn’t find anything.”
Laura’s gas was shut off as a precaution and she tried to get some sleep after heading back to bed just before 3am.
Struggling to drift off with the smell still persisting, Laura’s son Logan got up at 5am as he usually does.
“My son is borderline autistic and gets up at 5am and we went down the stairs as usual and got him his breakfast,” she said.
“I could still smell this smell and when I went into the utility room I kept tripping up over this bag of towels that I had sitting in a Primark bag.
“I thought, ‘they’re doing my nut in’ so I picked them up and took them up at the top of the stairs.”
At around 6am, Laura then detected a strong burning smell and actually thought a neighbour’s house was on fire and dashed out of her home in her socks to see what was going on.
Upon returning to the house she’d lived in for 19 years, Laura was horrified to see thick smoke billowing from the bag of towels she’d put up stairs moments earlier.
“I thought to myself, ‘What the hell is going on, this isn’t possible’,” Laura added.
“I ran upstairs and touched the towel at the top and it was so hot. Too hot to touch, in fact.
“I pulled it out and sparks came from it, like flames and the fire fell onto my stairs.
“The only part of my house that’s carpeted is my stairs and my top landing.
“I started shouting and screaming at the girls, who were sleeping, to get out.”
Laura’s kids Ashley, 23, Amy, 13, and Logan, five, all exited the property safely after quickly dodging the blazing bag – Natalie, 22, was staying at her boyfriend’s house when the fire broke out.
“I knew I had to get out the house because by that point because the smoke was just engulfing the house,” Laura said.
“I took the rest of the bag out, because I thought there was something in the bag causing the ignition, but there wasn’t it was just towels.
“But the more towels I took out, the more flames that generated.
“When I eventually got outside my teenager said that she thought that her cat was in her room, so I ran back in.
“It was stupid, i know. I couldn’t see the cat anywhere, it was so smokey. The bottom of my feet were all burned.
“By the time I got back down stairs I could feel the heat behind me and I looked back up and the whole stairs were engulfed an on fire. I knew then my house was gone.”
The whole upstairs of Laura’s home has been devastated with the ground floor water and smoke damaged.
Laura said: “The firemen had told me that they’d seen this happen with towels before.
“I do massage and I use essential and rapeseed oil and they said that towels can spontaneously combust because they keep the heat in.
“I’ve honestly never seen or heard of this before and I’ve been told it wasn’t an electrical fault or anything like that, they said it was just a freak accident. I’m in shock.”
Still shaken from the ordeal, Laura says she’s thankful her family made it out of the house.
“We could’ve been asleep when it happened,” Laura continued. “If it wasn’t for my wee boy being autistic and wanting to get up at that time we would’ve been sleeping.
“I was told by a fireman that I was lucky to get the kids out when I did because if the fire was any further on, there would’ve been no way for them to get out.
“I’m overwhelmed and anxious. I feel lucky that I got my children out.”
Laura also heaped praise on the fire fighters who helped her retrieve some significant personal items from the embers of her home.
“The firemen were all so amazing. They went back in and got my inhalers,” she added.
“I had a wee stillborn baby and I lost him living in that house and his ashes were up the stairs.
“I managed to get them back and his memory box but they’re smoke damaged. Wee things like that mean a lot.
“They’d also managed to save some of the presents I’d bought for my wee boy’s Christmas. I told them it was in a cupboard under the stairs and they managed to get it.”
Now friends and the community of Stewarton have rallied to Laura’s rescue by starting a fundraising campaign to help her get back on her feet while she stays with a friend in Dunlop.
So far, more than £1,000v has been raised for the Ayrshire family.
“I didn’t want a fundraising page but my friend did it behind my back anyway,” Laura admitted.
“I feel lucky that I have such good friends and that I live in a community full of people that are wiling to help.”
A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “We were alerted at 6.32am on Monday, November 2 to reports of a dwelling fire on Jubilee Rise, Stewarton, Ayrshire.
“Operations Control mobilised three appliances to the end terraced property to extinguish the fire.
“One female suffering from slight smoke inhalation was handed into the care of the Scottish Ambulance Service.
“Firefighters left after making the area safe.”