Wed, 02 Dec 2020
AN appeal has been launched to help a Thatcham mother and son who lost everything but the clothes on their back in a house fire.
Pamela Mccutcheon returned home from work on Sunday to find she had lost everything in the blaze.
Her five-year-old son Sebastian was staying at her sister's when the fire broke out.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but it was so intense that the neighbour's carbon monoxide detector went off through the wall.
An appeal to help Miss Mccutcheon and Sebastian, launched by her friend Aimee Sharpe, has raised £1,115 and been flooded with item donations since it started on Monday.
Speaking to Newburytoday, Miss Sharpe said that her friend was meant to be on a day off but was called into work at Starbucks at Tot Hill Services after a staff member phoned in sick.
"I don't think someone has been so glad that someone phoned in sick," Miss Sharpe said.
"The fire service said she would have been dead in two minutes because of the smoke and carbon monoxide.
"The neighbour's carbon monoxide detector was going off, it just shows the level of carbon monoxide, It must have been pretty intense.
"She and Seb have been left with the clothes on her back, all their clothes and possessions have been destroyed. All the Christmas gifts she has bought are gone.
"It's the thought of losing everything. You think of toiletries, phone charger that sort of stuff, but it's all the pictures that Seb drew at nursery, baby books and pictures, the things you put away and don't look at daily.
"Most of the damage has been caused by heat and not the fire. She had a wall-mounted TV and that's melted into the plaster of the wall."
The appeal launched on Monday aimed to raise £1,000 but the target increased because of the number of donations. Furniture, clothing and other items have also been donated.
Miss Sharpe said: "That's amazing but now it's a case of storing furniture donations because she's got nowhere to put anything.
"I didn't think we would get to £1,000 to be honest because of the time of year and Covid. I thought we were pushing our luck with £1,000 but we hit that in 24 hours.
"It's amazing the level of generosity across the board the number of people who have donated and shared it."
People have offered a fridge freezer, sofas, tables and chairs, pots and pans, bedding and clothing to replace items lost in the fire.
Miss Sharpe lives in Warminster and said her task was to clear her shed and find a generous man with a van who could transport it all to West Berkshire.
Miss Mccutcheon and Sebastian have been put into a hotel while insurers look for temporary accommodation and Miss Sharpe said they were "trying to get a roof over their heads that isn't a hotel room".
She said: "She's got her little boy and is trying to keep some form of normality for him.
"I think that's her main priority, having that sort of normality for him, which that hotel room is not going to provide."
The friends met on a first aid course and Miss Sharpe said Miss Mccutcheon was her "work wife and we go to each other for advice".
Miss Sharpe said: "She's the kind of person who won't ask for help. She's very much a strong, independent woman and she's having to accept the fact that people care."
Donations can be made at https://gf.me/u/zar5kb