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Stockbury family flee fire as battery charger for remote-controlled car starts bedroom blaze

By Andy Gray

A mother-of-four has spoken of her shock after a battery charger used to power her son's remote-controlled car exploded by his bed and triggered a blaze - leaving his room a blackened shell.

Clare Butler, from The Street, Stockbury, said she and her children are lucky to be alive after the fire that took hold in the early hours of this morning as they slept.

The 38-year-old described the terrifying moment she was awoken at 1.45am by a "popping, banging" noise coming from her 14-year-old son Harry's bedroom.

The battery charger for Harry Butler's remote control car caught alight
The battery charger for Harry Butler's remote control car caught alight

She said: "I ran into his room and he was trying to put the fire out himself with a bucket of water.

"I told him to 'leave it', because of all the fumes and said 'you're not going to be breathing in a minute'.

"I heard my other children screaming from their room so we got them out, ran downstairs and dialled 999.

"As we got outside, we could see the bedroom windows getting blacker and blacker. We saw the fire engine coming and flagged it down."

Miss Butler said it was only when they had made their escape that she realised what had caused the fire.

"Harry told me the only thing it could've been was the battery charger he'd left on overnight so he could play with his car in the morning," she said.

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Mother Clare Butler with a fire-damaged mattress outside her Stockbury home
Mother Clare Butler with a fire-damaged mattress outside her Stockbury home

Miss Butler, who also has a 19-year-old daughter and 18-month-old twins, said her son had "saved up" £150 for the remote control car, which he bought on the internet and arrived yesterday.

She said the charger and the long-life batteries were bought separately.

Miss Butler said Harry, a Fulston Manor student, was alerted to the blaze when he felt the flames at his feet.

He tried to tackle the fire himself using a bucket of water he used to feed tomato plants he was growing in his bedroom.

Two fire crews, who were called at 1.35am, took two hours to deal with the blaze.

Miss Butler and three of her children were taken to Medway Maritime Hospital where they were treated for breathing in smoke. They were released this morning.

Video: Stockbury house fire damage caused by battery charger

Miss Butler moved to the three-bedroom, semi-detached Golding Homes property in January.

She claimed she had spent her life savings on decorating the house, which she hopes she can continue to live in despite the bedroom being destroyed and it suffering smoke damage.

She said: "Material things don't matter - you can't replace children. Seeing the house in daylight has made me realise how lucky we are. I want people to know the dangers these gadgets can cause.

"I wouldn't want anyone else to go through what we went through because they might not be so lucky."

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