May 24 2013 Latest news:
By Andrew Papworth
Monday, March 18, 2013
A family who lost everything in a devastating house fire have thanked those who donated beds, furniture and clothes to their children.
Louisa Hawkins, her partner Robert Armsby and her 10-year-old daughter Charlotte were left with nothing but the clothes they were stood up in after the blaze broke out at their Sanctuary Housing home in Railway Road, Downham Market, on February 3.
The incident, which is believed to have started in the kitchen as a result of items stored near a toaster, left the family and their five pets homeless.
It even destroyed tickets for a dream family holiday to Disneyland Paris later that month, which had to be abandoned.
After hearing of their plight, family friend Susan Batterham, 30, of Downham Market, launched a Facebook appeal for old and unwanted items to help the family.
Her appeal resulted in the children being given enough spare clothes and shoes to tide them over, while Miss Hawkins investigated her entitlement to an insurance payout to cover the items they had lost.
“I hope and pray that if it ever happened to me, that people would do the same,” Mrs Batterham said.
Speaking about the incident, Miss Hawkins said: “I was quite hysterical. I didn’t know what was going on or what to do.”
The 36-year-old had been sleeping on the night the fire broke out in February. She said that she woke up smelling smoke and asked Mr Armsby to go downstairs and see what was going on.
“He just said: ‘You’ve got to get Charlotte out now. The house is on fire,’” she said.
After hurriedly putting some clothes on, she got her daughter and walked with her down the stairs, grabbing the phone on her way out to call the fire brigade.
They managed to get their three dogs Princess, Toby and Timmy, as well as their two cats, Fudge and Smokey, safely out of the house.
“As I was coming down the stairs I saw an orange flame by the kitchen but I blocked it out. When I was outside, I saw black smoke coming out of the front door.”
Fire fighters from Downham Market, Outwell and King’s Lynn attended and extinguished the blaze.
The family were taken in by neighbours in the immediate aftermath.
Sanctuary Housing put them up in the Crown Hotel, in Downham Market, until they could be rehoused in Church Drove, Outwell by Freebridge Community Housing.
Although they missed the holiday to Disneyland because their tickets and passports were destroyed in the blaze, the family instead went on a holiday to Butlins.
Terrorism returned to the streets of London today as two suspected Muslim fanatics butchered a man in broad daylight in the name of “Allah”.
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