Woman appeals for support as Hungerford home of 80-year-old grandparents goes up in flames
“They watched their whole world burn” said Lizzie Neale, granddaughter to a Hungerford couple who watched their house go up in flames.
“Everyone is asked if your house was on fire and you had 10 seconds to decide what to grab, what would you choose? Unfortunately my grandparents had to answer that question for real” she said.
Chris and Gloria Keene, 80, lost everything last Tuesday (26), as their house was engulfed in a fire.
The fire started in the roof above their upstairs bathroom, in what may have been a fault in the shower system, leading to the entire upstairs burning.
A report has not yet been made into what the definite cause was.
Downstairs is now filled with water, which has damaged the floor beyond repair.
Miss Neale said: “I am so glad they both got out OK, it was close.
“My grandad was in the shower, all he could grab was clothes and a towel.
“They have not been to the doctor, but they are OK, they are just mentally shaken.”
She is now looking to the local community for support, which she has said has already been “overwhelming”.
“All the neighbours called 999, there were a couple of other calls made too.
“Some neighbours stayed outside with them as it happened, it makes all the difference”
The couple are still looking for a place to stay within the district as they wait on their rebuild.
Miss Neale commented: “They are now in a hotel, I have been with them all day.
“They’re searching for something more permanent, but want to stay in the local area.
“Everything is very overwhelming, I am trying to lift their spirits.
The neighbouring home to the semi-detached property has since been evacuated due to further damage.
She added: “The fire response were amazing, six teams came and tried hard to re-enter the property.
“They couldn’t go back in and retrieve belongings.”
The mother-of-one went on to say: “They are the most amazing great grandparents, spoiling my little lad whenever they could between lockdowns with sensory books and cuddly toys.
“He will never get to see photos of his grandparents when they were youthful, even their birth certificates are gone.”
Lizzie's grandmother Gloria, who is Inkpen Parish Council clerk, managed to retrieve her wedding rings and laptop as a fireman asked her what he should rescue on entering the property for the last time.
For grandad Chris, it was his prized Royal Photographic Society jacket that he wore to meet Lizzie’s son, hours after his birth in 2020.
Sadly, there were many much-loved possesions that the couple could not retrieve, like a photo of Lizzie’s great-grandad with Princess Diana in his nursing home, her grandma’s MBE for her services protecting the countryside and photo albums of their parents.
The GoFundMe page, which has already raised more than £1,000, can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-little-glimmer-of-hope-post-house-fire?utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all&utm_source=customer