Family overwhelmed with support after losing possessions in house fire

The fire in Ancells Close, Lawshall, on November 5 captured by a neighbour

The fire in Ancells Close, Lawshall, on November 5 captured by a neighbour - Credit: Ben Tatum

A mum has spoken of the shock and distress at losing her family home of 13 years in a fire.

Gill Brown had been picking her son up from the cinema when on their return home they could see "billowing smoke" and then realised "it was us".

The home in Ancells Close, Lawshall, near Bury St Edmunds, has been badly damaged in the fire on the afternoon of Friday, November 5, and the family are currently staying in a hotel while temporary accommodation is arranged.

Miss Brown, 57, said work was being done to her son's car, which "blew up" and set alight to the house.

The family are staying in a hotel after the fire caused substantial damage to their Lawshall home

The family are staying in a hotel after the fire caused substantial damage to their Lawshall home - Credit: Kelly Carboni

Her daughter, 20, was inside at the time, but managed to get out of the property and the family's cat and dog are also safe and well.

Miss Brown said firefighters managed to retrieve a few items of clothing, but believes the majority of their possessions will have been lost - if not in the fire, then due to smoke or water damage.

She praised the fire service for being "brilliant" as well as neighbours who looked after them by providing cups of tea and blankets.

She said: "I think we have all been in shock really. Every now and again I think 'oh, that's gone'. I don't know what's salvageable.

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"You take things like towels and tea towels for granted, but I don't know if we have any of that left. I think a lot of the furniture is destroyed.

"I have collected a lot of things over the years. I used to buy and sell mid-century furniture and pictures, but at the end of the day as much as it's horrible to lose it, it's not really important.

"You start to realise possessions aren't that important."

She said they lost an old Volvo car in the fire too.

Miss Brown believes the loft at her housing association property has caved into bedrooms and the outside wall is unstable.

Gill Brown's daughter Kelly Carboni has launched a JustGiving page to help her family

Gill Brown's daughter Kelly Carboni has launched a JustGiving page to help her family after they lost their possessions in the fire - Credit: Kelly Carboni

She said she cancelled her contents insurance during the coronavirus pandemic to save money when she lost her work as a self-employed cleaner.

Her daughter Kelly Carboni, who lives in Buckinghamshire, has launched crowdfunding to help her family, and it met the £1,000 target in just 24 hours.

Mrs Carboni, 37, said: "It's unbelievable how kind everyone has been; friends and family, but also strangers."

Miss Brown said she had been brought to tears by the donations and comments on the JustGiving page, including one by a girl who donated her pocket money.

"It's just so lovely," she added.

Helen Marjoram, head of housing at Samphire Homes, said: "We were very sorry to hear of the unfortunate situation.

"Whilst there is significant damage to the roof of the home, it is too early to tell how long the repairs will take.

"However, we’re in regular contact with Miss Brown and have arranged temporary accommodation. We will work with Miss Brown to find a longer-term property and will support her where possible to ensure she has what she needs."

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