A FLINTSHIRE pensioner has been left homeless by a devastating blaze.

The 60-year-old named locally as Beverley Beck, is facing months of anguish after a blowtorch started a fire in the roof of her house.

The bungalow on Sevenacre Close, Bagillt, was left with a collapsed roof as fire tore through it in scenes witnessed from across the road by the distraught homeowner.

Neighbours say Mrs Beck, who is currently thought to be staying with family, could have to live elsewhere for up to a year while repairs are carried out.

Dave Bithell, who lives next door, said: “Luckily Beverley was out shopping at the time, otherwise she could have been killed.

“She had to stay in a house over the road and watch her home burn down.

“She is absolutely devastated. She has lived here for 25 years and if you look at what’s left of the house, it’s all immaculate because she was so house-proud.”

A fire service spokesman said the blaze, which happened at 3.22pm on Friday was thought to have been caused by someone using a blowtorch in the loft, setting fire to the loft insulation.

Mr Bithell added: “I know she had someone in doing work, but I haven’t heard anything about the cause yet.

“Neighbours who saw it said it went from smouldering to raging in about eight or nine minutes. The firefighters did all they could, but it was too late to save a lot of it.

“We’ve been really lucky. Our houses are really close together and are exactly the same structurally, so exactly the same thing would have happened to us if it had spread.

“It was only because of the wind direction that we weren’t affected. We’ve been very lucky, Beverley has been unlucky.

“She is staying with family in Ellesmere Port at the moment, but it’ll probably be about 12 months before she can come back here.”