Letchworth family 'distraught' after their house destroyed in fire forcing them into temporary accommodation – Herts Live


The family are currently housed in temporary accommodation after their house fire on Jackman’s Estate in Letchworth destroyed the upstairs of their home
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A family lost their home just days after Christmas after returning to find it on fire. On December 28 Donna Jeffries' home on the Jackman's Estate in Letchworth Garden City caught fire due to a suspected electrical fault.
Donna's children lost all their Christmas presents including tragically a new pet tortoise, while Donna herself lost a number of items she had bought for her upcoming wedding, which she has now had to postpone. Much of the upstairs of the building was destroyed in the flames and the rest of the rooms were damaged by smoke.
On the day of the fire, Donna and her two children had gone to visit her mum in Luton. But Donna was contacted by her neighbours and the family rushed home to find a "horrifying" scene where their house had once been.
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Donna's first concern was her son's new pet tortoise and her two budgies. The tortoise sadly did not survive the fire but the budgies were saved by firefighters.
Donna said: "I bought my little boy a tortoise for Christmas and he had a heat lamp on for it. We were going out for the day to my mum's so I put an electric timer on [for the heatlamp].
"I was at my mum's when I got a phone call from my neighbour and she said that she thought my house was on fire and was full of smoke. She phoned the fire brigade and by the time I got back to the house my 13-year-old boy's bedroom was completely destroyed.
"The top of the stairs and everything else upstairs has been destroyed with smoke and heat damage. We have two budgies, which luckily the fire bridge got out but the tortoise didn't make it, he 'disappeared' bless him."
Donna had planned to get married this year but also lost a number of things she had bought for it in the fire and has since decided to postpone it. To further make things worse, in an effort to save for the wedding she had also recently cancelled her home insurance because she "never would have expected" her home to catch on fire.
Donna said: "We're due to get married this year, which we've had to postpone because all of our wedding stuff was upstairs. The money that we've got was to be put towards the wedding because four months prior I cancelled my home insurance.
"Obviously every little helps with the wedding and I cancelled my home insurance and now I'm sitting thinking why did I do something stupid like that? You don't think anything like this is ever going to happen, especially between Christmas and New Year. All of the children's Christmas presents were up in their bedrooms."
Donna and her children are now living in temporary accommodation in Letchworth but Donna says "it isn't home".
"We're in temporary accommodation at the moment but it's not home, I hate it," She said, "I absolutely hate every second of having to come back here, it's just heart-wrenching because I want to go home.
"I don't know how long it's going to be because they've got to get loss assessors out to assess the property to see which one is going to come and fix it."
Donna, who works as a carer has only now just been able to work, and hopes that doing so will take her mind off what happened. In an effort to try and return to what they had before, Donna has also started a GoFundMe page to raise some money. So far £1,575 has been generously donated to get the family back on their feet.
Donna said: "I've been off work for a couple of weeks but I've just returned as I'm a carer and you have to do a lot of talking. But I've just not felt like it for the last few weeks, I'd rather just talk to my family. But the reason I made the GoFundMe page was because I cancelled my home insurance. We're going to need a new carpet, furniture, curtains everything. We're lucky the front room was unscathed.
"I can't put out how grateful I am for everybody. We've had so many people helping us with beds, bed linen, towels and essential items, we've even got furniture coming through.
"You don't realise until a time in need how many people are out there that actually care. A lot of the people that I know from the hospital I worked at over ten years ago have donated. It's been absolutely fantastic"
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