A pregnant Virgin Atlantic stewardess who tested positive for Covid-19 was made homeless after a fire destroyed her home on Christmas Day.
Keira Sanded, 34, has been spending months in temporary shelter after she and her partner, who were unwell at the time, took food out of the oven and fell asleep before waking up to a fire in their kitchen.
The mother of two from Newhaven, East Sussex, is 21 weeks pregnant with her third child and was laid off in September after 13 years in her job.
The following week, her father died of coronavirus.
Keira Sanded (pictured above), 34, has been temporarily sleeping for months after a Christmas Day fire destroyed her home in Newhaven, East Sussex
“It’s only been a year of devastation,” said Ms. Sanded, who went through some difficult months. “It was just one thing at a time.”
She contracted the disease herself a few days before Christmas and was self-isolating with partner Wayne Barrett on December 25th.
This meant she was on vacation separately from their children Cayden Taylor, 11, and Miley Taylor, 9, who currently live with their father.
The former stewardess also has the prospect of losing her dog, Kasper, by moving to temporary accommodation – the family’s four-year-old pet is not allowed to enter the new house.
Ms. Sanded said, “I was completely unable to work and my partner was also very sick. He was cooking. We arrived around 2:45 pm and I was very sleepy. My partner fell asleep too.
“He took the meat out of the oven and set it aside, and we both fell asleep. I woke up to hear a crackling sound and see smoke pouring through the room.
Wayne went into the kitchen to have a look and there was a small fire on the stove.
“He went and soaked some blankets in water to put out the fire, but oxygen took hold of the flames and the fire just grew.”
Former Virgin Atlantic stewardess with her two children. She developed the disease herself a few days before Christmas and was self-isolating with her partner on December 25th
The mother of two and her partner, who were unwell at the time, took food out of the oven and fell asleep before waking up to a fire in their kitchen (Image: the scene after).
The ceiling had burned through and the appliances melted from the flames, leaving black scorch marks on the walls.
Ms. Sanded said firefighters told her it could be weeks before anyone could enter her home and months before it could be inhabited again.
She added: “We have been Covid positive and homeless. I explained everything and the team outside of business hours said, “Don’t worry, we’ll find an emergency shelter.”
However, she was later told that no bed and breakfast in the area was ready to accommodate her as she suffered from coronavirus. She was able to stay one night with her mother, who was also isolated after she was taken to the hospital.
The next day, Ms. Sanded received a call from the city council that she had been booked into a nearby hotel.
But when she called the hotel to check the details, she found that they were not known to have tested positive for Covid-19. Once the hotel knew, it couldn’t accept her.
Subsequently, Ms. Sanded was informed by the council that she would have to wait until Tuesday 29 December for the authorities to find her accommodation, as all staff would be returning to work at that time.
The scene in Mrs. Sanded’s kitchen after the fire. She said firefighters told her it could be weeks before anyone could enter her home and months before it could be inhabited again
Four days after the fire, Seaford City Council found a two-bedroom property. Ms. Sanded said this was “not ideal” as her children are 11 and 9 years old. Then it got worse.
She said: “We were told we have to house our dog Kasper permanently. He can’t come with us. I don’t know what the kids will do when they find out.
After the fire, they first asked for a picture of him. We’ve had him since he was a puppy. ‘
She and her partner are paying about £ 1,700 a month for temporary housing, compared to the £ 430 she previously paid for her house.
Ms. Sanded said, “We have lost everything except the clothes on our backs.”
But she added that the support from the Newhaven community has been “overwhelming”.
Mrs. Sanded with Matt LeBlanc. Four days after the fire, the council found her a two-bedroom property. Ms. Sanded said this was “not ideal” as her children are 11 and 9 years old
The former stewardess pictured with Richard Branson. Ms. Sanded said the support from the Newhaven Community has been “overwhelming”.
Many people and businesses have donated items to help the family, and a GoFundMe page her sister set up has raised more than £ 1,470.
Mrs. Sanded is now looking forward to seeing her children again. Your isolation phase ends on Saturday.
“My little girl will be ten in a couple of weeks,” she said. “She sent me messages counting the days until we can meet again. This is the longest time she has ever been away from me. ‘
A Lewes District Council spokesman said: “We deeply sympathize with the most difficult and challenging position that Ms. Sanded, her family and her partner have found themselves in.
“Above all, nobody was injured in the fire and our team will contact the fire department to assess the property damage.
“The two bedroom apartment we found for Ms. Sanded was the only available property that our officers could find given the circumstances. This search was obviously made difficult by her positive Covid-19 test.
‘Our team has provided details on how to apply for an emergency grant to help purchase essential items. We are in regular contact to make sure she has what she needs and have given her details of the support agencies. ‘