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Romantic meal spoiled as fire fills house with smoke
MANUEL Afonso was busy preparing a romantic dinner for his fiancée when it all went up in smoke.
The 29-year-old was in the kitchen putting the finishing touches to the special meal for Angela Gouveia, 26, when when the smoke alarm in his bedroom went off.
He left the steaks and rushed into his bedroom in Campbell Road, Oxford, to discover that thick black smoke had engulfed his belongings.
Mr Afonso, a floor manager at the Vaults and Garden café in Radcliffe Square, said: “I finished work at about 7pm and came home and listened to some music.
“I went to the kitchen to cook steaks for me and Angela who was in the kitchen. It was going to be a nice meal but then the alarm went off. I opened the door to my room and saw the smoke.”
He said the fire took hold at 9.30pm after a lamp fell on the sofa in his room, setting it alight.
Mr Afonso, originally from Madeira in Portugal, said: “The fire destroyed two laptops, two mobile phones, a TV, a music stereo, the windows, the sofa and lots of new clothes belonging to Angela.
“I rent the house with my five housemates from the landlord who lives in Wales. I don’t know if I am covered by insurance. The damage could cost me more than £1,000 which I will have to work a couple of months to pay for.
“People were jealous as it was the best room in the house, but not any more. The steaks are still in the kitchen to eat.”
Ms Gouveia, a cleaner at DF Williams in Magdalen Road, said: “I often stay here and I was looking forward to our meal. The fire destroyed my laptop and lots of new clothes I only bought two days ago.”
Housemates Carlos Oliviera, 33, and Fernando Major, 33, were also making a meal in the kitchen with friend Sandro Rosa, 41, who lives in Fern Hill Road, when they heard the alarm.
Along with Mr Afonso, they tried to tackle the blaze by pouring buckets of water from the kitchen over the fire before Mr Oliviera called the fire service.
Mr Oliviera, a butcher, then broke the window at the back of the room and along with Mr Major and Mr Rosa they used a neighbour’s hose to try to stop the fire spreading.
He said: “We were very grateful to our neighbour Josiene Leoose for letting us use her garden hose as it was quite a big blaze at that time.”
Mrs Leoose said: “I was quite frightened when I saw the smoke but I was pleased to help in some way.”
An Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said fire crews from Slade Park and Rewley Road were sent to the scene.
He said: “It was apparent on arrival that there was a severe fire on the ground floor of the semi-detached house due to the large volume of smoke coming from the rear of the property.
“Fortunately all residents were out of the house but several suffered smoke inhalation and the fire was being tackled from outside with a neighbour’s hose.”
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