A COUPLE whose kitchen fire was allegedly started by their cat have received “hate mail”.

Paul and Tracey Long, parents to primary school boys Callum and Liam, were shocked when their kitchen caught fire last Friday.

Four crews rushed to the scene on the second-floor flat of Canberra Towers, on Kingsclere Avenue, at 3.22pm.

Paul said their cat, called Sponge, stood on the toaster and knocked something into it, which Tracey confirmed was paper.

One resident said she saw flames on the second floor of the building, but cruise worker Paul said this was not true.

Daily Echo:

He said: “You couldn’t see flames. We’re getting hate mail with reference to putting people’s lives at risk.

“People said we’re sponging off the government, but we’ve worked all our lives.”

Paul said he had refurbished the flat before the fire.

But according to the father-of-two, him and care worker Tracey have been accused of deliberately starting the blaze.

Daily Echo:

He added: “We spent £1,800 to redecorate our flat nicely for our boys so they have a nice place to come home to.

“People are saying we deliberately done it, why would we spend £1,800 just to set it ablaze? It has got to stop.”

The arson team at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service labelled the fire as accidental.