Fire family prepare to go home

THERE was a bittersweet feeling today for an Ipswich mother and her ten-year-old son who are waiting to return to their burnt-out home.

THERE was a bittersweet feeling today for an Ipswich mother and her ten-year-old son who are waiting to return to their burnt-out home.

Janet Widmark was delighted that contractors had started work on her Bramford Lane house after it was allegedly torched by arsonists more than a month ago.

But her emotions turned sour when she suspected an attempt may have been made to break into the derelict property.

Miss Widmark, 50, said the thought that someone may have tried to get in left her feeling “broken”.

“I feel like someone has kicked me in the stomach,” said Miss Widmark. “The fire has already taken my house off me. What if squatters move in there or it gets used as a drugs den?”

Miss Widmark had been passing by the house when she saw contractors clearing the property in preparation for the renovation project due to start next month.

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But she was told by the workmen that the boards attached to the back door had been removed.

Police have said Miss Widmark reported the matter to them, but added there was no evidence to suggest that entry had been gained.

Miss Widmark is also apprehensive about how her son, Nathan, who goes to Whitehouse Junior School, will cope when he finally sets foot inside the home.

They were rescued by firefighters after becoming trapped in a top-floor bedroom by the flames on February 26.

She said: “At the moment, Nathan is confident of going back, but when we actually go into the house, close the front door behind us and he goes into his bedroom, I will be waiting to see his reaction.”

The devoted mother and son are currently staying with Miss Widmark's 81-year-old mother, Audrey Leeks, in Shafto Road, Ipswich.

In her desperation to get her life back on track, she has fired criticism at Ipswich Borough Council for keeping her in the dark over the repairs and for taking so long.

But Steven Wells, the Ipswich Borough councillor responsible for housing services, said Miss Widmark had been informed of the timeline for the work, which needed a lot of preparation because the damage was extensive.

A police investigation into the fire is ongoing. A 35-year-old mother and her 17-year-old son, both from Ipswich, have been bailed by police until April 30 after being questioned on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life.

Do you have any messages for the family? Have you been in a similar situation? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

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