A mother-of-three who lost everything in the Shurgard storage warehouse blaze faced similar emotional devastation when she was a teenager.
This is the second time that Nicola Barker has lost all her worldly possessions in a fire. When she was just 16 her family home burnt down.
Nicola and her three children aged three, seven and eleven moved out of their Thornton Heath home in December and stored all their belongings from their three bedroom house in two units.
Fire tore through the Purley Way warehouse on New Year’s Eve wiping out 1,198 storage containers, with hundreds losing irreplaceable personal mementos and property worth millions of pounds.
Nicola said: “Whenever I close my eyes all I see is both fires. I’m trying to stay strong for my three children and tell them the insurance will replace everything but in reality it won’t and no amount of money could.
“We lost absolutely everything except clothes and a bunk bed. My children lost all their toys, I had my late nan’s possessions in there and my terminally ill father’s things who lives in Australia. I can not afford to visit him so that was all I had left along with all of my children’s firsts, scan photos, curls, outfits. So many sentimental items that can’t be replaced.”
Nicola who is currently living with her mum in New Addington said: “It’s heartbreaking to have to start all over again. With such a lack of support from Shurgard it’s not getting any easier.”
Hundreds affected are planning a legal challenge claiming safety failures of sprinklers, fire alarms and lack of security outside normal business hours led to the destruction.
Nicola added:“We are looking into legal action under mis-sold insurance, lack of fire protection, lack of security and more issues. We all have so many questions that are not getting answered.“