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Selsey family’s heartbreak as fire wrecks home

The family made homeless by the fire at their home in Selsey. Emma Beckingham with her partner Graham Bullock, and children, Shauna, 14, Owen, 11, Madison, nine, and Deanna, two. Picture by Kate Shemilt.

The family made homeless by the fire at their home in Selsey. Emma Beckingham with her partner Graham Bullock, and children, Shauna, 14, Owen, 11, Madison, nine, and Deanna, two. Picture by Kate Shemilt.

A FAMILY has been left devastated after a fire ripped through their home.

Emma Beckingham, 37, Graham Bullock, 33, and their five children have been left with nowhere to live after a blaze which started in an extractor fan destroyed their home.

“We’ve lost everything,” they said.

The family were woken in the early hours of Tuesday morning, in their house on Manor Road, Selsey, to the smell of smoke.

Emma said: “I was bathing the baby between 7pm and 8pm, I turned the light on, the extractor fan usually turns on and stays on. The fan kept stopping and starting. I thought it had packed up, or something was stuck in it maybe.

“I did not think any more of it. I went to bed early. I woke up just before 12, convinced I could smell a bonfire in the house.”

She said she woke up Graham and asked him to go and see what was going on.

“I thought it was next door’s house on fire. I left everyone and ran out.”

She soon realised the fire was coming from her home, and they got the children out, as well as the couple’s two dogs and two snakes.

Although the family was safe, they have lost nearly all their belongings.

They rented the home, and have so far been left with nowhere to go.

This is particularly worrying for the family as Emma has diabetes and Graham has epilepsy.

Their five children are Connor, 15, Shauna, 14, Owen, 11, Madison, nine, and Deanna, 21 months.

The family are staying with relatives while their future hangs in the balance. The pair said they have contacted their letting agent and the council, but so far they have nowhere to go.

Graham said: “Our letting agents have nowhere to put us at the moment. They are willing to help, but they have not got anything that is suitable for us at the moment.

“The council say it’s not their problem and it is not their liability. They said worse case is they will put us in a hostel in one room, all seven of us in Worthing. We wouldn’t be able to take the dogs.”

Emma said: “We have lost everything. We have lost our past, our clothes, possessions, everything that meant a lot to us. I am not prepared to lose our dogs as well.”

Emma’s mum lives in Selsey, and she is her carer, so she wants to stay in the town, and the children go to school in Selsey.

“They are thriving in their education at the moment,” said Emma “It would just destroy them.

The pair said it could take from eight to 12 months to repair their home, which they have rented since last November.

“We have nothing now,” said Graham.

The call came in to the fire service at 12.20am on Tuesday. The fire, destroyed 80 per cent of the roof space. In total, six fire engines were at the scene. As well as damage to the roof, the fire service said 50 per cent of the remainder of the home was damaged.

The Observer asked Chichester District Council its policy on situations like this.

A spokeswoman said: “If someone’s property could no longer be lived in due to fire or damage, we would first advise the tenant to contact their landlord, who has a duty to find alternative accommodation. However, if this was unsuccessful, we would look for suitable temporary accommodation for them until they could return to their home.”

 

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