Mum Katie Cross has spoken of the moment she was told her house was on fire and then realised she and her children had lost almost everything.

Miss Cross, 30, had taken her two young children for a bike ride near their home in Awdry Road, Devizes and was returning when two young girls ran up and said the house was burning.

The fire was started by an e-cigarette Miss Cross had left charging on the kitchen worktop. It overheated and sparks caused laundry to catch fire.

She said: “We rushed back and I kept hoping that they were wrong. But when we turned into the street I realised it was true.

“The fire brigade was outside. It was a terrible moment. I just kept thinking of all the things inside.”

Miss Cross and her children – Callum, four, and Annabelle, eight – are staying with friends in a small flat Marlborough, but she is desperate to find another place to live.

She said: “I have been to the council, but been told we just have to go through the bidding process for Homes @ Wiltshire. We have a gold plus rating, but platinum is above us and so far I have not been successful.”

Her son is due to start school in September and was looking forward to joining his sister at Wansdyke Primary. However, Miss Cross said she would accept a home anywhere.

She said: “Of course, I would like a place in Devizes, so the children can stay at Wansdyke, but the most important thing is to have a home somewhere.

“We have been offered a hostel place, but I didn’t think that would be good for the children. My friends in Marlborough have been very good, but we are making things very cramped for them.”

The only items salvageable from the house were clothes that had been in the tumble dryer.

Miss Cross said: “Everything is just black from the smoke. I lost precious things, like the little wristbands the children had when they born and things that were in a special box.

“These can’t be replaced, but we are desperate for practical things, like furniture and white goods, for when we do get a place to live.”

Annabelle said the item she was most upset about losing was her big box of loom bands.

Miss Cross said she had given up smoking, but was still using an e-cigarette. The fire happened on August 2, soon after she bought a new battery for the unit.

She can be contacted at

Wiltshire Fire and Rescue have warned people not to leave e-cigarettes charging unattended.