A CAPEL HENDRE couple are living in their garage after a blaze, believed to have been started by a cigarette, tore through their home causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.
Dave and Jane Carter, of 17 Waterloo Road, say a smoke alarm saved their home from being completely gutted.
Fire chiefs are still probing the cause of last Friday's fire which took them three hours to tackle.
The couple, who were gardening when the smoke detector went off, have thanked neighbours for offering them accommodation, clothes and food.
Dave (49) told the Guardian: “At first I thought it was the kettle boiling in the kitchen but we found the house full of smoke and called the fire brigade, who arrived within minutes.
“I strongly urge other householders to fit smoke alarms.”
The Carters had only just finished renovating the six-roomed house after moving in two years ago.
Their fire-wrecked front room was full of antiques which he had bought and lovingly restored.
Among the items destroyed was a £600 wall clock, a £Ammanford,000 grandfather clock, Queen Anne chairs, a bureau and a small chapel organ.
Two Chesterfield sofas, made before the current fire regulations, helped to fuel the blaze, another point Dave says house holders should bear in mind.
Smoke damage throughout the rest of the hose ruined furniture and fabrics as well as bicycles already bought for Christmas presents for three of the couple's nine grand children.
Mr Carter said the fire was not started by a dropped cigarette despite the suspicions of the fire service – he and his wife had not been in the room for three days.
The damage is covered by insurance and the Carters could move to a hotel, but have decided to live in their garage until they can acquire a caravan to site in temporarily their garden.
“We don't want to put our two pet dogs into kennels,” they explained.
Jane praised neighbours who have inundated them with offers of accommodation, clothing and food.
Firemen used breathing apparatus to fight the blaze due to the intense heat and smoke.
Two fire engines rushed to the scene. A spokesman said the cause of the fire was still unknown and was being investigated.