Devastated dad’s warning after daughter’s faulty phone charger destroys family home


A dad has spoken out of his family’s heartbreak after a faulty phone charger caused a fire that destroyed their home.

Freddie Walters from Newtownstewart in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland said his family were about to go to bed when they heard a massive bang.

It came from their eldest daughter’s room, but she had popped downstairs so wasn’t actually inside at the time of the bang, reports Belfast Live.

When the family rushed to the bedroom the room was already on fire.

Soon the whole house was engulfed in flames, and with Freddie and his youngest daughter away in England at the time, his wife and other two daughters were lucky to escape the burning building.

The dad said the house caught fire in a matter of minutes.

“My oldest daughter had just took her phone off the charger and went downstairs to get something to eat. My wife had just got into bed and a minute or two later and she heard a bang,” Freddie told Belfast Live.

“My middle daughter was in the back bedroom and said she didn’t know what happened, then she looked into the front bedroom and said it was already alight.

“My wife got up out of bed and within two minutes the room was already ablaze. They tried to throw a wet towel on it but by this stage the whole room was engulfed.

“They were petrified. My wife was standing in tears watching the whole house burn to the ground. Thankfully the fire service were very quick to get there, they were there within eight minutes.

“We’re all up the left and can’t think straight at the minute. I don’t know how to describe it, it’s heartbreaking to think the time and effort you put into a house and it can be taken away from you that quick.”

Freddie said they were only able to salvage a small amount of their possessions from the house, and the process to recover the house may take up to 12 months.

He added: “We were able to salvage some stuff from downstairs but all the ceilings have collapsed in. We’re in another house now in the town and we’ve just been trying to sort through things.

“There has been a lot of people donating clothes and furniture and St Vincent de Paul has helped us out with beds and mattresses.

“We’ve been advised that it will be nine to 12 months minimum before it might be liveable again. The house needs to be stripped back to its brickwork.

“All it took was one plug, one phone charger. It wasn’t even a cheap one, it was a genuine charger. In the space of 10 minute it tore the whole house apart.”