Squatters return to derelict Bournemouth house days after life-threatening fire started by candles (From Bournemouth Echo)
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Squatters return to derelict Bournemouth house days after life-threatening fire started by candles
SQUATTERS have returned to a Bournemouth property, just days after it was gutted by a life- threatening fire.
A number of people are staying in a conservatory attached to the house in Wellington Road. The house was the scene of a blaze that has left three people in hospital with serious burns at 1.45pm on Sunday.
One of the women sleeping in the property said: “I’ve been with my partner now for four years, but the council and social services won’t let us live in the same house.
“That’s why we come back here. I know it looks bad, but it’s ok.”
Blankets and sleeping bags have been hung from the ceiling of the extension to try and keep those staying there warm.
Around 12 rough sleepers are believed to have been staying in the property, or in tents outside, just before the fire.
One man, who has not been named, is reported to have suffered 60 per cent burns in the blaze.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “It can get so cold here, but for three years, it was our home.
“We’ve lost our home.”
Investigators have concluded there were no suspicious circumstances, and the fire seems to have been caused accidentally as squatters used candles to try and keep warm.
Although the house is blocked from the road by a solid wooden gate, put in place before the incident, those using the property have found access through another entrance.
The property has not been boarded up. Ward councillor David Kelsey said there is little the council can do, as the house is privately owned.
“It is a very big problem,” he said.
“We are aware of the issues there, and we have tried to get the owners to do something about it, but it has been a very slow process indeed.”
Rough sleepers have been using the house as shelter for some years, neighbours have confirmed.
Cllr Kelsey said: “Of course, we understand that people need somewhere to sleep.
“But essentially, they are trespassing. They shouldn’t be there. We have real issues in terms of what we can actually do about it as a council.”
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