Hartlepool mum of four thanks people for their amazing generosity after losing all possessions in house fire
A mum says Hartlepool is a town with “the biggest heart” as people rally around to help after she and her four children lost everything in a house fire.
Leanne Taylor and her family have been left devastated after the blaze, which is being treated as possible arson, tore through their home in York Road, Hartlepool.
Luckily, she and her children were not at home although they lost all their possessions.
But Leanne has also been comforted by people’s amazing generosity as numerous town businesses, charities and strangers immediately began collecting much-needed donations for the family.
Clothes, shoes, bedding, furniture and money have already come in.
Leanne, 33, said: “Hartlepool has got to be the town with the biggest heart.
"Everybody’s come together to help me and my family.”
It was just before 9am on Tuesday, May 18, when the emergency services were called to the mid-terraced house near the town centre.
Thankfully, Leanne was taking her three girls, aged 14, 12 and 11, to school at the time.
And her four-year-old son was out with his dad, who had called at the house to take him to school earlier than normal.
Leanne said: “Five minutes after leaving, the house had caught fire. It’s just crazy the fact that my son would have been on the top floor.
"The fire ripped through the full house within 15 minutes. There was nothing salvageable.
"I lost quite a lot of sentimental things that can’t be replaced. Obviously my children are safe, that was the main thing.”
Within hours, appeals started to be shared online asking for clothes and anything anyone could give to help.
Donations quickly arrived at Manners and Harrison estate agents, in York Road, and also at creative arts organisation Kyle’s Dream, where Leanne and her children regularly go.
Lottie Applebey of Manners and Harrison, which has given most of their donations to Leanne, said: “The response has been fantastic. Our office floor was covered fully.
"I couldn’t believe how generous people have been.”
Leanne described their help as a godsend.
Other supporters include community organisation Poolie Time Exchange, Direct Beds, supermarkets Asda and Tesco, Steve’s Carpets and Miles for Men.
And Leanne’s close friend Stacey Jones has started a JustGiving page which is close to hitting its £1,000 target.
Stacey said: “Hartlepool is a good place in a crisis if anything happens.
"Everyone pulls together and supports everybody but it’s a bit of a surprise. You don’t realise how generous people are.”
Leanne said she is incredibly moved by everyone’s support.
She added: “I really don’t know what I’d have done without everybody. We had nothing but what we were wearing.
"Clothes and shoes have meant the world to us.
"There are people that don’t even know me that are going out of their way to help us. It’s lovely.
"I can’t say how amazing Hartlepool is and thank them all enough.”
Police have arrested a man in his 60s on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. He has been bailed and inquiries are continuing.
Anybody who may have seen anyone behaving suspiciously in the area between 7.45am and 9am should contact Detective Sergeant David Donoghue on 101, quoting incident number 079428, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, or www.crimestoppers-uk.org.