North East Wales

Llanarmon-yn-Ial barn 'home' for Tony and Gail Cummins

Residents in a Denbighshire village have converted a barn to house two uninsured pensioners who lost most of their possessions in a fire.

Tony Cummins, 73, is recovering in hospital from burns and his wife Gail, 65, was left devastated by the blaze in Llanarmon-yn-Ial.

Neighbours Steve and Jackie Mangan have renovated a barn for the couple's use.

Ms Mangan said other residents had volunteered their time and some companies had donated equipment.

The fire began at about 18:00 BST on 25 July and is thought to have started in the garage where Mr Cummins was working.

It spread to the house, which was destroyed.

Eight fire engines attended the remote property, and formed a chain to pump water from a river a mile (1.6km) away.

Six engines were damaged in the operation, and the fire was not brought under control until 05:50 BST the following morning.

Image caption The fire gutted the Cummins' home

Home comforts

Neighbour Jackie Mangan and her family have taken time off work and enrolled the help of volunteers to convert their barn for the couple.

She said: "We've had a little bit of help up to now from some kind people.

"Steve and my two boys have taken a whole week now off work to accommodate Tony and Gail.

"Their daughter has now come home from New Zealand, so they're going to want to be together.

"I'm going to take my grandchildren and my family down to Conwy, and let them live as a family for a week in my house, until this property is a bit more comfortable for them, and that's the best we can do really."

Image caption The barn is being renovated in time for Mr Cummins' discharge from hospital

Local county councillor Martyn Holland spoke of the efforts the fire service had to go through to put the fire out.

"The fire brigade were putting the fire out at one point, and then all of a sudden they lost water pressure," he said.

"The reason we had so many fire tenders up here is because they were pumping water from the river nearly a mile away.

"So they were having these fire engines in tandem, pumping from one to the other, to get it up to the top of the mountain," he explained.

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