A guilt-stricken teen was forced to confess she’d been vaping after a vape she’d thrown away set the house ablaze – and left the family homeless.
Mom Heidi Johnson was downstairs with her four-year-old son and a friend when the smoke alarms began to go off at around 7.15 pm last month [April 15th].
The carer went upstairs to check them and was horrified to be faced with flames and plumes of thick black smoke coming from her 16-year-old daughter’s room.
Racing downstairs and ushering her loved ones from the house, the mother-of-three called the fire brigade who arrived at 7.30 pm.
It’s believed the lithium in the battery of a ‘dead’ cherry cola-flavored vape, which had been binned as it had run out, sparked the devastating blaze.
Her teenage daughter, who had nipped to a shop with a friend, was horrified when she returned home to discover the house had been ruined and shamefacedly admitted the vape was hers.
Heidi is sharing her ordeal to warn about the dangers of vaping and encourage the installation of more bins for proper vape disposal
Shocking pictures show the property and all their possessions covered in soot forcing the children to live with family members while the 37-year-old lives out of her car with her four-year-old dog Bubbles.
Now Heidi is sharing her ordeal to warn others about the dangers of vaping and encourage more places to install bins where they can be properly disposed.
Heidi, from Batley, West Yorkshire, said: “I was just in the living room and my little boy and my friend were in the kitchen when the fire alarms started going off.
“Now and again the alarms go off and there’s no problems.
“I checked the kitchen one and it wasn’t flashing red, neither was the living room one.
“I thought it was probably just a dickie [alarm].
“When I got to the top of the stairs, it was just black. I couldn’t see anything.
“There was a bit of a light coming out of my daughter’s bedroom. I pushed the door back and it was all up in flames.
“It was the week after my daughter’s 16th birthday, so all her birthday things were gone, she’s got nothing”
“I never expected it. When I saw it I screamed.
“My friend and my son were at the bottom of the stairs. I told them to go, I said ‘get out, get out!’ and pushed them next door.
“It went so quickly, it was so scary seeing the flames.
“It was the week after my daughter’s 16th birthday, so all her birthday things were gone, she’s got nothing. We’d just decorated her bedroom and bought her a new telly.
“She’s devastated, absolutely heartbroken. It’s just a shock. I don’t think I’ve even accepted what has gone on.
“The fire brigade turned up and at first they thought it was a gas leak.
“It turned out it was my daughter’s vape, but it had been there for ages. She said it was dead.
“It was just in the bin in her room. She said it had been in there all day.
“The thing is, my daughter wasn’t even allowed vapes in the house.
“I’ve already banned vapes from my house, but I can’t put it on her. It’s just one of those things that has happened. I know she’s taken it worse, because it was her vape. She blames herself for it.
“We’ve been left completely homeless, it’s really affecting my kids”
“The fire brigade said it was the lithium in the battery that had leaked out of the vape and caused the fire.”
Heidi’s rented house is now ruined beyond repair, as not only was the upstairs destroyed by the smoke and fire, but the downstairs suffered water damage too.
Her children are staying with family members, while she sleeps in her car with her dog every night until they can find alternative accommodation.
The single mom says she feels heartbroken and that she has been left with ‘nothing’ due to a vape.
Heidi said: “I can’t even go in the house, even if I wanted to get something out, it’s so dangerous.
“It’s sickening, I’m 37 years old and I’ve got nothing apart from my car, it’s horrible.
“The thing is my daughter wasn’t even allowed vapes but it’s just one of those things that happened.
“There’s no proper disposal bins for them, they’re just getting thrown left, right, and centre”
“It’s all gone, it burnt everything. The kids have no toys or everyday things.”
“We’ve been left completely homeless, it’s really affecting my kids. I just want to be normal and back with my kids.
“It’s reality. I’m just plodding along and trying to do what I can do for my children, but it just isn’t working.
“Everything just seems to be getting worse. It’s hard, I’m trying to deal with one thing and then another happens.
Grateful no one was hurt, Heidi hopes that in sharing her story she can highlight the potential dangers of vapes and the importance of properly disposing of them.
Heidi said: “I’ll survive. I’m here and alive. Just don’t vape. At the end of the day, it isn’t worth it.
“When you’re in my situation and you’re living in the car with your dog separated from your kids. It’s all because of a vape.
“They don’t even have any warnings or proper disposal places for them.
“Something so dangerous and there’s no proper disposal bins for them, they’re just getting thrown left, right, and centre.
“You don’t think it’s going to happen because it’s dead and it’s useless but it’s taken my whole house out.
“I’m so scared of them now, I never want to see one again.”
“My daughter’s trying to keep going but she’s suffering, all my kids are and I’m not even able to be around them at times like this. It’s just crazy.
“It could happen any time, anywhere and there’s nowhere to get rid of them. There hopefully will be soon.
“I just don’t want this to happen to anyone else. You don’t think it can happen, I never even knew it could happen.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Saba Fatima and Newsdesk Manager