Fire Damaged Home of Deaf Child – Work Begins to Bring Family Home

Lucy Turner, Richard Armitage and Dean Wash get to work

Volunteers and friends of the family began to make some progress this weekend on returning a severely damaged home of a deaf child back to normal.

We told you last week how the home of Louisa Stokes and her three children, including daughter Charlie who has hearing loss, was almost completely destroyed by an intense blaze that had left the family with almost nothing. During the week friends of the family began replacing the ceilings in the worst affected areas. This weekend, volunteers from Action on Hearing Loss and the Jack Hunt School, which houses Peterborough’s education unit dedicated to deaf children, worked on bringing the kitchen back into use.

The devastating effects of smoke and heat are apparent throughout the entire house. The fire itself barely lasted 10 minutes but there is simply no area untouched by the heat or smoke. Smoke that left a thick oily soot in it’s wake. There is oily soot inside, outside and on top of every kitchen cabinet and worktop, over all the food and then even inside the children’s cereal boxes. It coats every wall black, its behind every drawer, black is everywhere you look, in every room. Nothing has escaped – everything needs attention.

The heat generated from this intense blaze has melted the top of the kitchen cabinets and freezer more than 20 feet away from where the fire began. The heat smashed the windows and condemned all the plaster in dining room. In the stairway leading to the first floor, where the family were at the time the fire began, the deep blackness reflects no light, there is no paint to left to see. The bedrooms smell strongly of smoke and again, everything is lacquered in the remorseless oily black soot from a fire that, although long extinguished, will have its presence felt for months.

No amount of washing is likely to totally eradicate the stench from the family’s clothes and Louisa told me that sadly for the children, most of their toys will probably have to be thrown out.

Good progress is being made though. Friend Daz Lander had plaster boarded the damaged ceilings and some of the worst walls although a plasterer will be needed to build on his progress. Another friend, Neil Wagstaff has tackled the soot in the living room and made astonishing progress. The volunteers from Jack Hunt and Action on Hearing Loss worked on the kitchen, bringing it up to a useable state.

More help is still needed though. The pictures from the day show progress but there is so much still to do. If you think you can lend a hand with donating items, cleaning, plastering, decorating or another job you think may help, please contact Louisa Stokes on 07989 435395 and help bring forward the day when this deaf child’s family can return home.

New Update .. 

Neil Wagstaff makes good in the front room.
After four hours scrubbing, the kitchen returns to some normality with Kerry Brooks and Lucy Turner
Daz Lander single-handedly working the walls
Andy Palmer and Lucy Turner

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