Lorriane says she is fearing for her life and no longer feels safe in her own home
A disabled widow has recalled the terror of waking to find her flat on fire – after a burning item was put underneath her door.
Lorraine Hacking has vascular dementia and lives in over-55s accommodation in Knowle.
The 58-year-old has lived at St Martin’s Close for more than a year but says she no longer feels safe in her own home.
Lorraine says her vascular dementia was caused by a stroke which was brought on by drugs she was prescribed after being diagnosed with breast cancer.
Her health deteriorated when she moved back to England from Rhodes after her husband died of a heart attack.
Now she requires assisted living and her flat has an intercom system.
Lorraine explained how she woke to hear shouting on the intercom which had been triggered by the smoke alarm.
But the smoke alarm failed to wake her in the early hours of Saturday, March 24 when the fire started.
So by the time she did wake up, she found her hallway filled with smoke and her door and carpet were on fire.
She said: “I was petrified to wake up and find that. I managed to get to the kitchen to get some water and I put out the fire.
“My daughter has been really concerned about what happened and is worried about me being here.
“It’s affected the neighbours too, they don’t feel safe and some of them want to move.”
Lorraine added she has not been sleeping well since the incident and feels the symptoms of her long-term health condition have worsened.
And since the ordeal, Lorraine has been forced to wait weeks for the repairs to be made.
The accommodation is run by Places for People Homes Ltd and Lorraine feels the company has let her down.
More than three weeks after the fire, Lorraine is still waiting for her door to be repaired.
The housing company told BristolLive on April 16 that the scorched door will be replaced in the next 10 days.
A spokesperson added: “Mrs Hacking’s door is secure but will be replaced with the next 10 days because the scorch marks cannot be repaired.
“It is our policy to keep all communal areas in the blocks we manage free from obstructions, and fire hazards, which is communicated regularly to residents.
“This policy extends to welcome mats and any other items that are potentially flammable or might present a trip hazard, especially in the event of a fire.”
Lorraine says she was originally told by a member of staff that the repair would not be carried out until May 1.
The deliberate fire has left Lorraine fearing for her life but the housing company insists they do not feel it was a targeted act.
When approached by BristolLive, a spokesperson for Places for People said: “We take the safety of all our residents extremely seriously.
“Since the fire at St Martin’s Close, our Tenancy Enforcement Manager has been in contact with Mrs Hacking, her family, and the local police to investigate this incident fully and we will continue to work closely with the police during their investigation.
“We have no evidence or information to suggest this was a targeted attack on Mrs Hacking or any resident at St Martin’s Close.”
Avon and Somerset police confirmed they were called to Lorraine’s address and are continuing to investigate the incident which was deliberate.
A force spokesperson told BristolLive: “We were called after reports of a small fire at an address in St Martin’s Close, Bristol at about 3am.
“The fire, which was started deliberately, was quickly extinguished before officers arrived. Enquiries are ongoing.”
Lorraine added that she asked Places for People about the possibility of the company installing CCTV to help her and her neighbours feel safe again but she says the company said there had been too few incidents to warrant the extra security measure.
The Places for People spokesperson said: “Our Tenancy Enforcement Team is, however, considering measures that will help provide reassurance to residents at this time, and will continue to liaise with all parties to move this forward.”