Fundraising plea after couple’s family home of 30 years devastated in fire

A fundraising appeal has been set up to help a family forced out of their home of 30 years after it was badly damaged in a fire.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 10:24 am
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 10:40 am
William and Fiona with their son William Holland (right) outside of their damaged home.

William and Fiona Holland both 69, now have to live in rented accommodation in Peterlee after their family home in Easington suffered extensive damage in a fire back in February.

The couple, who were living in the house with their youngest son at the time of the incident, have described the horror of “watching 30 years of hard work go in flames” after a blaze broke out.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue service crews were called to the fire just before 3pm on Wednesday, February 17, and crews spent almost an hour and a half fighting the flames.

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William, Donna and their youngest son were all in the home when the blaze started.

Mr Holland has said that although the fire was contained to the attic, the roof and the side of the house are “gone” and the loft is “wiped out”.

The former miner, who is originally from Wheatley Hill, said: “It devastated the loft, it just wiped it out. The roof is gone. The side of the house has gone.

"Electrics will need checking out, gas works will need checking out. Total devastation.”

The grandfather-of three continued: "I was watching 30 years of hard work go in flames.

"It’s indescribable.

"All the family was raised in there. The whole family life.”

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Mr Holland has explained that the home was previously insured but they had to let the insurance go two years ago when they experienced money difficulties after Fiona suffered a work injury.

Now a fundraiser is trying to help the couple, who are parents to Dawn, 47, Katherine, 42, Sarah, 38 and William, 36, get their home back.

It was started by Donna Lowther, 35, who went to school with William.

The manager from Peterlee said she launched the fundraiser with her brother after finding out about the family’s living situation.

Donna said: “Something really gets to you like that.

"I do have a lot on at the moment, but I thought anyone could spare a couple of minutes just to help someone.”

Mr Holland has said he feels a bit ‘embarrassed’ by the effort.

He said: "To say that I’ve worked all my life and all of a sudden this happens.

"Words can’t describe it.

He added: “I’m taking it one day at a time now. You don’t know what’s around the corner.”

A County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "Reports of a building fire on Hazel Crescent, Easington village came into our control room at 2:59pm on Wednesday 17th of February 2021.

"Three appliances attended, two from Peterlee and one from Seaham.

"Fortunately, there was no one inside the building and our crews safely extinguished the fire and left the scene at 4.32pm.”

The fire service has added that the cause of the fire was “accidental”.

To support the campaign, which has so far raised £735, go online to Go Fund Me and search for Help the Holland family get their home back.

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