Hair extensions burned my house down

Natasha Lee was looking for a quick fix for her hair dye woes but she never dreamed that using hair extensions would burn her house down. She told her story to Chat magazine…

Rummaging around in my packed bedroom cupboards, my hand fell on a hairy bundle. ‘Aha!’ I said, yanking my clip-on hair extensions free. Earlier at school, my teacher told me to take the green dye out of my hair. ‘You know it’s not acceptable,’ she said. ‘Sorry miss,’ I grumbled. I liked standing out in the crowd, and my locks of green hair did the trick. Taking out the dye wasn’t an option.

Then it came to me… I’d use my hair extensions to cover up the colour. I hadn’t worn them in months, but now I had them in my hands, I felt relieved.  I wouldn’t have to make an emergency dash to the shop. Inspecting the hair, I realised it was in a tangled mess. I’d need to give them a good wash to get the knots out.

Walking into the bathroom, I turned on the bath taps. ‘They’ll look as good as new once I’ve finished with them,’ I thought to myself, reaching for a bottle of shampoo. Scrubbing each section, I towelled them dry. But on the way back to my room, I realised they were still dripping. ‘I’ll give them a quick blast with the hair dryer,’ I thought.

After giving them a five-minute zap, I laid them on my bed and headed  downstairs for a drink. I had homework to do. Only minutes later, as I made my way back upstairs, I smelt burning. Horror filled my stomach, as I heard crackling noises coming from inside my room. My mind spun. ‘Oh my god,’ I gasped rushing to my door. As I dashed into my room, my eyes widened in terror. My bed was a red-hot fireball.  Flames lapped up the walls, as I bolted back downstairs and grabbed the phone.

Frantically, I punched in 999. ‘Help! My bedroom’s gone up in flames!’ I shouted, when the operator answered. ‘Get out the house straight away,’ the voice instructed. ‘We’ll be with you as
quick as we can.’

I ran from room to room, trying to find my pets. The fire was still upstairs, so I had time to get them to safety first. I managed to get my dog, Angel, and my cat Kuzco outside, but watched in horror  as my other cat flew upstairs. ‘No Bastet,’ I screamed, following after her. I had to at least try and save her.  But half way up, the smoke grew too thick. Choking, I fled back down.

When I reached the front door, I made one final attempt to get her out. ‘Bastet, Bastet,’ I shouted.  Suddenly, she came bolting down the stairs, and straight out the door. I breathed a sigh of relief.
For a second I thought I’d lost her. I hurried out to the street, where my neighbours had gathered round. ‘What’s happened?’ one of them asked me. ‘I honestly don’t know,’ I said, breathlessly.
‘The fire came out of nowhere.’ I wracked my brains, There were no candles lit, and I didn’t smoke. I couldn’t figure it out.

Looking up at my bedroom window, flames were pouring out through the glass. ‘Oh no,’ I thought.  All my stuff would be ruined. As the sound of sirens grew loud behind me, I felt relieved help had arrived. Within seconds firemen were dragging hoses inside. ‘Is there anyone else inside?’ one of them asked me.  ‘No, it was just me’ I said. ‘My mum’s at the shops.’

Suddenly, I tensed, as I heard a familiar voice behind me. ‘My house!’ mum screamed. When I turned round, her face was white with shock.  How on earth was I going to explain this? ‘Natasha!’ she stormed, marching towards me. ‘What the hell is going on?’

‘I went to get a drink,’ I stuttered. ‘When I came back my room was on fire.’ Mum rolled her eyes. ‘And you expect me to believe that?’ she said.  She let out a sigh, and pulled me into her arms. ‘At least you’re not hurt,’ she said, hugging me tight.

It took the fire fighters two hours to tackle the blaze. When it was tamed one of the firemen came over to speak to us. ‘Have you used a hair dryer recently?’ he asked. Suddenly, it dawned on me. ‘Yes,’ I gasped. ‘I was drying my hair extensions.’ The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind that my hair extensions burned my house down. ‘That will be what started the fire,’ he said. ‘Did you leave them next to the dryer?’ ‘Yeah,’ I nodded sheepishly. I couldn’t believe it.  I’d left the extensions too close to the hair dryer and the heat had set them alight. I’d used straighteners on them dozens of times, but nothing like this had happened.

Mum and I slept at a friends that night. We’ve since moved onto a B&B where we still are now. There’s a chance we might not get into the house for while yet. If I hadn’t walked back upstairs when I did, I dread to think what could have happened. My room is ruined. The walls are charcoals and my bed is in cinders. I’m also going to have to buy a whole new wardrobe of clothes.  There’s a lot of smoke damage in the other rooms upstairs but at least downstairs is okay.

Now we’re just trying to move on from it now and put it behind us. There’s no point dwelling on it. It could have been so much worse. It’s awful that we can’t live in our house at the moment. We’ve lost so much of our belongings too, but I’m so grateful we’re all ok. They say you learn from experience and I know I will. I certainly won’t be buying hair extensions again.

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Author: Claire Dunwell
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