01/07/2014 11:54 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Family's Home Destroyed By Exploding E-Cigarette

Ross Parry

Ross Parry

A mum and her children have been left homeless after their house was destroyed by a fire caused by an exploding e-cigarette.

Single mum Victoria Newton, 34, and her three children are lucky to be alive but, sadly, the explosion killed their neighbour's cat.

Victoria was at home with her four-year-old son Dylan and her two daughters Millie-Anne, nine, and Lauren, 13, when they heard a bang at their house in Leigh, Greater Manchester.

Victoria told her local paper: "My daughter Lauren had some friends round and one of her mates had plugged in her e-cigarette and they'd gone out playing.

"About 15 minutes later, I was doing housework and I heard this crackling noise coming from Lauren's bedroom.

"I didn't know what it was and when I reached the landing I just remember this huge bang and I was thrown to the floor by the force of it.

"It had been left on the floor and the explosion sent it flying across the room and it ended up under Lauren's bed.

"I was crawling around and when I looked I couldn't believe my eyes. There was smoke everywhere and the room was on fire. The force of the blast had blown out all the bedroom windows and blown the door off the hinges.

"I couldn't breathe and my instinct was just to grab Dylan and get out."

Victoria said her two daughters were in the front garden playing when she ran outside covered in soot carrying her four-year-old son.

But their neighbour's cat Tinker, who was in the house at the time, sadly died in the blaze.

Victoria said: "My first thought was to make sure my kids were safe. My son was screaming and when my girls saw us run outside they heard me shouting 'fire' and they burst into tears too.

"I thought the cat was in the house so I left Dylan outside and I ran back in but I couldn't see or breathe because there was so much smoke.

"It's awful that Tinker died but I'm grateful it wasn't my kids. It could have been so much worse."

The family are now staying with relatives until they find another home.

Meanwhile, Victoria has warned other parents to beware the dangers of e-cigarettes.

She said: "These e-cigarettes come from all over the world. You never really know if they're safe. Something needs to be done about it."

David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "The family had a lucky escape with discovering the fire when they did, although their house is damaged and they have lost their pet.

"Please can we remind people to take extra care when it comes to electrical items, not leaving them plugged in too long and making sure wires, plugs and chargers are in good working order."