Ipswich fire-hit family ‘overwhelmed’ by support

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Radcliffe Drive fireImage copyright
John Weston

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Firefighters were called to Radcliffe Drive shortly after 03:00 BST

A family have been “overwhelmed” by support after they lost all their possessions in a house fire.

A woman and her three sons were rescued by neighbours in Chantry, Ipswich on Thursday and were unharmed, but the fire wrecked their home and belongings.

More than £1,600 has been raised online for the family, with cash, clothing and toiletries collected by two pubs.

“The response has been amazing,” said Penny Youngs-Debnam, of The Kingfisher pub in Chantry.

A witness told the BBC she saw the mother calling for help from her roof in Radcliffe Drive at about 03:00 BST, with neighbour Alan Clark getting a ladder.

The woman and her sons, aged 16 and 11-year-old twins, were helped to safety.

An appeal began for the family on Facebook on Thursday morning, with Ms Youngs-Debnam initially asking for clothes and school uniform.

The pub was soon inundated with clothing, shoes, games consoles, toiletries, bedding and furniture.

Image copyright
Penny Youngs-Debnam

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Mounds of clothes have been donated to the cause

“They are overwhelmed with the support that everyone is giving them,” she said.

“They couldn’t speak through shock at the amount of donations, they broke down in tears.

“Physically they are only bruised but mentally, it’s the shock and that is starting to kick in.

“It just goes to show that there is still humanity in this world and that everyone clubs together to help when needed.”

‘Everything stinks’

The Belstead Arms in Chantry is also collecting for the family and their neighbours – a couple with three daughters whose house was “trashed” by smoke and water.

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The family and their neighbours are in temporary accommodation

“They came to the pub that night in shock, they were shaking,” said landlady Lisa Benson.

“Everything in their house stinks, there is no electricity and they can’t go back in.”

She set up an online appeal and items have been dropped off at the pub, with offers of help when the house is redecorated.

Suffolk Police has appealed for witnesses to the fire, which is being treated as suspicious.

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