Dave Turner (69) and partner Olwyn Cornwell (59) were woken at 3.15am on Saturday when their bungalow in Beech Close, Market Deeping, was engulfed in flames. They just made it out of their home with their lives, but lost almost everything in the fire - with only a Peteborough United teddy surviving amongst the devastating ruins of their home.
Grandfather Dave, a retired civil engineer, said: “I was woken by a noise - I initially thought it might be burglars, but then I saw flickering lights. I went into the other bedroom and saw the flames. They were already fierce. I think it was the bedroom window cracking that woke me up.
“I rushed back and told Olwyn to get out. She ran round the back of the house and saw the decking that was next to the bungalow was ablaze.
“The flames were well up the side of the bungalow. We tried in vain to douse it with a hose. It was then that we dialled 999.
“It was panic stations - we dashed in to get the car keys - thankfully they were next to the door, but the kitchen was already full of smoke.
“The flames were coming up to the roof by that point.
“A neighbour got an elderly man out from next door and got him to safety.
“The shed, which Olwyn uses as a workshop (she works as a freelance curtain maker) was on fire. The fire service were told it was just a shed fire, and when one crew arrived they realised it was much more serious and called for back up.
“In the end there were a lot of crews on site. I don’t think Beech Close has ever seen anything like it.
“We stood and watched it for a while - it was devastating.
“The fire service said that if we hadn’t have woken up when we did, we might not be here now.
“Our neighbours were great, offering us help, and the Red Cross team came up from Leicester in their van. They offered us tea and coffee, put us in touch with South Kesteven District Council, gave us phone chargers, called for an ambulance and even gave us an emergency £40.
“We didn’t know anything like that existed.”
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is still ongoing, although there were reports of fireworks being let off around the time of the blaze.
Dave said: “We have lost pretty much everything. It has been heartbreaking. We went in and there was a chest of drawers that escaped most of the damage, which had our passports and a few other documents in. And the only other thing was a Peterborough United teddy bear that was a Christmas present. It was a bit singed and burnt, but it is in pretty good condition. Hopefully it will be an open for the team!”
The couple are now staying with Olwyn’s brother while a more permanent solution is found, and the community in Market Deeping have rallied round to help them. An online fundraising campaign has already raised nearly £3,500
Dave said: “It has been a bit overwhelming. There have been a few tearful moments.
“But the community have been incredible. People have raised money for us, offered furniture and other items. I keep welling up with what has been done.
“I’m a member of the Deeping Lions, and because I’ve been a volunteer who has helped people over the years, a few people know me.”
The couple now have plans to rebuild the bungalow.
A fundraising page has been set up to help the couple. To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/beechclose