15:00 29 January 2022
A single mother and her four children have been crammed into a hotel room after their flat was destroyed by flames on New Years Eve.
Roxanne Sidney, 26, stayed at the Holiday Inn next to the Norwich City stadium after her municipal property in Suffolk Square was destroyed by a kitchen fire.
The fire department is continuing to investigate and deal with smoke damage after crews were called just after 2pm on Friday December 31.
But Miss Sidney lamented having to stay in a cramped hotel room – which costs the council up to £200 a night – with small kitchen facilities to provide healthy food for her children aged nine, six, two and six months.
She said: “I struggle with depression and anxiety anyway, so being locked in this little room is not healthy.
“It’s really affecting my kids with schooling and we’re struggling right now.
“My children are quite traumatized after seeing a fire in their own house.”
The family have been told the fire may have been caused by a clothes dryer, but Miss Sidney disputes this as she believes it was put out.
A neighbor alerted the fire brigade as Miss Sidney and her children were out at the time.
The family’s French bulldog Cleo was inside the burning building but was rescued by crews.
Miss Sidney said: “Our kitchen was completely destroyed. I was initially told I would have to pay for all the damage but then I got another phone call saying I didn’t have to pay. It seems a little strange.
“I would be willing to be relocated anywhere in Norwich. I just need to get out of the hotel room.”
Miss Sidney was told she would not be charged for the repairs and the council provided a new microwave for Miss Sidney to use at the hotel.
A council spokeswoman said: “Fire damage repair work to Miss Sidney’s home is nearing completion.
“Since the fire, we have taken care of all the family’s needs, including providing accommodation and covering food costs.
“We are in regular contact with Miss Sidney and she will be the first to know when it is safe to return home.”