Family thanks community for support after Helston house fire

Family thanks community for support after Helston house fire

Family thanks community for support after Helston house fire

First published in News

An “overwhelming” number of volunteers and local businesses, plus a team from RNSA Culdrose, have rallied around a Helston family whose home was devastated by fire in Helston on Saturday.

Suzy Thalha and her two children, eight-year-old Ellie-Mai and 14-year-old Jessica, have been made temporarily homeless by the blaze, which gutted the ground floor of their Hellis Wartha home.

The fire originated in the tumble drier, in the garage, when towels set alight.

It quickly spread to the kitchen, which has been entirely decimated, and into the living room where fixtures and fittings were destroyed, including the sofa and television.

Falmouth Packet:

Suzy, who works for Sainsbury’s in Helston, had no house insurance and the council was just weeks away from buying her house from her, through a mortgage rescue scheme. It is not known what will happen now.

“I couldn’t afford the mortgage,” she said. “I was a week away from completing [the buyout]. I don’t know now.

“I’m not insured so I can’t afford to fix it. If they don’t go ahead I will have to leave it anyway.”

She said she was able to cope because the majority of her children’s belongings were upstairs and relatively unharmed.

“It’s all dirty, but at least I can say, ‘We’ve still got your stuff’. They’re the most important things,” she added.

Downstairs is a different story, however, the kitchen is black with soot, with plastic units and even the glass kitchen table melted from the heat.

The boiler exploded, the patio doors were blown out and all the downstairs windows have gone, plus one upstairs.

Both girls lost their bicycles, which were stored in the garage.

Friends and neighbours rallied around the family and began an appeal on Facebook for local tradesmen and companies to offer their support and donate items and services needed.

The result was overwhelming, with companies from across Cornwall coming forward to provide skips, trailers and vehicles to transport damaged goods and furnishings to the dump, with builders, electricians and heating suppliers offering their services, while individuals have been offering household items and clothing.

Still more offered manpower, with between 30 and 35 volunteers congregating early on Monday to help clear the charred items and start cleaning.

RNAS Culdrose sent a team from its workshop department.

Falmouth Packet:

Suzy said: “It’s just amazing. It’s unexpected. So many people said they would help, I’m just totally overwhelmed.”

She added of her neighbours and friends: “They’ve been great. Neighbours I don’t even know have been knocking on the door offering help.”

Her friend Felicity Woodman, who lives around the corner and has been leading the Facebook campaign, said: “She’s just a hardworking mum and she doesn’t deserve any more problems in her life.”

Suzy said her daughter Jessica had been alone in the house on Saturday morning and had decided to wash her bedding, which she put into the drier where there were already some towels.

After smelling “something funny” she pushed open the door and returned to the living room – but when she went back a while later the towels were on fire.

“She grabbed the dog and the cat and phoned me,” said Suzy, who was at work at the time.

Jessica was spotted standing outside by a neighbour, who dialled 999 but by that time the fire had taken hold.

Suzy is critical of today’s set up, where many permanently manned fire stations have been replaced with reserve firefighters, who are just called out when needed.

While thankful for the “great” work of the firefighters who attended, from Helston, Mullion and Falmouth, she said: “They just seemed to take forever to come. When you’re sitting watching your house on fire a few minutes seems forever.

“They were great when they got here and you can’t fault them. It’s not their fault. The system itself is s***.”

Falmouth Packet:

Two jets and two hosereels were used to put out the blaze, before a heat seeking camera was used to confirm there were no further hot spots.

Crews then used a high pressure fan to clear the house of smoke.

Later that day a fire investigation was carried out by two fire investigation officers. The fire investigation dog, Nelson, was brought into help and Devon and Cornwall Police were also on scene.

The fire and emergency support vehicle provided support to the family. At 4.45pm it was confirmed that the fire was believed to have been accidental.

Businesses and organisations that have come forward so far: Plumb Crazy (worktops and sinks), Trago Mills (kitchen cabinets), Sainsbury’s, WC Rowe, Simon Williams of SW Heating, Marconi Builders, Wheal Dream (meals for the family), HM Ground Works, architect Scott Hesketh (who will project manage), Mark Warden of Helston Electrical, FE Strike and Sons, The Mustard Seed, plumber Neil Jones.

Comments (8)

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9:39am Thu 21 Aug 14

meerkats says...

Helston John wrote:
So why are our cash strapped council buying her house from her? It's just not acceptable.
You could contact the Council and ask them ,as it seems to bother you.
[quote][p][bold]Helston John[/bold] wrote: So why are our cash strapped council buying her house from her? It's just not acceptable.[/p][/quote]You could contact the Council and ask them ,as it seems to bother you. meerkats
  • Score: -8

12:23pm Thu 21 Aug 14

meerkats says...

Helston John wrote:
So it obviously doesn't bother you then that Cornwall Council are cutting back on essential services yet are purchasing peoples houses? What's all this planning permission they give to developers to build excess houses we don't need with the excuse we'll get about two affordable homes out of the development , if they have the money to go buying houses willy nilly to rent out to people who they favour on the housing list.
i didnt say it didnt bother me and i havent really given it much thought , the reason why i left my comment is because it is the 2nd time you have asked that question and you asked for a reply on here from CC. As they didnt respond i merely thought you might find out more if you contacted them yourself. Stop twisting my comments to suit yourself.
[quote][p][bold]Helston John[/bold] wrote: So it obviously doesn't bother you then that Cornwall Council are cutting back on essential services yet are purchasing peoples houses? What's all this planning permission they give to developers to build excess houses we don't need with the excuse we'll get about two affordable homes out of the development , if they have the money to go buying houses willy nilly to rent out to people who they favour on the housing list.[/p][/quote]i didnt say it didnt bother me and i havent really given it much thought , the reason why i left my comment is because it is the 2nd time you have asked that question and you asked for a reply on here from CC. As they didnt respond i merely thought you might find out more if you contacted them yourself. Stop twisting my comments to suit yourself. meerkats
  • Score: -5

2:25pm Thu 21 Aug 14

Gill Z Martin says...

It must be terrible for anyone to experience losing their home to fire, and all our local firefighters are certainly very committed, it is good no one was injured. It is lovely to think how the community, RNAS Culdrose, businesses and individual business people, all come together to help in someone's time of need.
It must be terrible for anyone to experience losing their home to fire, and all our local firefighters are certainly very committed, it is good no one was injured. It is lovely to think how the community, RNAS Culdrose, businesses and individual business people, all come together to help in someone's time of need. Gill Z Martin
  • Score: 11

5:37pm Thu 21 Aug 14

diesel 1 says...

Good job there are decent people in Helston. Helston john should change his name to Gordon. Gordon /John is a moron !!!!!
Good job there are decent people in Helston. Helston john should change his name to Gordon. Gordon /John is a moron !!!!! diesel 1
  • Score: 9

9:17am Fri 22 Aug 14

ereinoesyou says...

Helston John wrote:
So it obviously doesn't bother you then that Cornwall Council are cutting back on essential services yet are purchasing peoples houses? What's all this planning permission they give to developers to build excess houses we don't need with the excuse we'll get about two affordable homes out of the development , if they have the money to go buying houses willy nilly to rent out to people who they favour on the housing list.
Houses we don't need? You're a complete tool aren't you. Prehaps you're lucky/well off enough to buy your own home, but what about the thousands of young working people in Cornwall who earn less than £7 per hour who can only get a mortgage for £56kso still live at home, or pay rent far in excess of what their mortgage repayments would be on a dingy 1 bed bedsit. Get a grip on the real world John.
[quote][p][bold]Helston John[/bold] wrote: So it obviously doesn't bother you then that Cornwall Council are cutting back on essential services yet are purchasing peoples houses? What's all this planning permission they give to developers to build excess houses we don't need with the excuse we'll get about two affordable homes out of the development , if they have the money to go buying houses willy nilly to rent out to people who they favour on the housing list.[/p][/quote]Houses we don't need? You're a complete tool aren't you. Prehaps you're lucky/well off enough to buy your own home, but what about the thousands of young working people in Cornwall who earn less than £7 per hour who can only get a mortgage for £56kso still live at home, or pay rent far in excess of what their mortgage repayments would be on a dingy 1 bed bedsit. Get a grip on the real world John. ereinoesyou
  • Score: 7

3:59pm Fri 22 Aug 14

titanium says...

A very good example of community spirit, helping this family get back to normal.
However, I do think that when we buy houses (or rent) we should factor insurance into the equation. Even if you just insure the building, it's better than nothing, and you can get some really good deals if you phone around.
A very good example of community spirit, helping this family get back to normal. However, I do think that when we buy houses (or rent) we should factor insurance into the equation. Even if you just insure the building, it's better than nothing, and you can get some really good deals if you phone around. titanium
  • Score: 5

7:57am Sat 23 Aug 14

Helston John says...

titanium wrote:
A very good example of community spirit, helping this family get back to normal.
However, I do think that when we buy houses (or rent) we should factor insurance into the equation. Even if you just insure the building, it's better than nothing, and you can get some really good deals if you phone around.
I said that in the last article on this fire. People should have buildings insurance because everyone is responsible for damage to neighbouring property if their fire causes it. Why should others have to claim on their insurance and have the premium go up just because some irresponsible neighbour hasn't paid for their own. You don't need buildings insurance if you rent only contents if you want it.
[quote][p][bold]titanium[/bold] wrote: A very good example of community spirit, helping this family get back to normal. However, I do think that when we buy houses (or rent) we should factor insurance into the equation. Even if you just insure the building, it's better than nothing, and you can get some really good deals if you phone around.[/p][/quote]I said that in the last article on this fire. People should have buildings insurance because everyone is responsible for damage to neighbouring property if their fire causes it. Why should others have to claim on their insurance and have the premium go up just because some irresponsible neighbour hasn't paid for their own. You don't need buildings insurance if you rent only contents if you want it. Helston John
  • Score: -1

2:28pm Sat 23 Aug 14

StarDasher says...

That the percentage of 'affordable' homes is so low stems from a number of factors. For example: most developers are understandably not too keen on 'affordable' units, and thus press for as few as possible - even threatening not to build at all if a higher percentage is sought.

Councils are therefore in a dilemma. Holding out for a higher figure may mean no development at all.
That the percentage of 'affordable' homes is so low stems from a number of factors. For example: most developers are understandably not too keen on 'affordable' units, and thus press for as few as possible - even threatening not to build at all if a higher percentage is sought. Councils are therefore in a dilemma. Holding out for a higher figure may mean no development at all. StarDasher
  • Score: 3

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