Community Local News News

Community Rallies Together to Support Family Devastated by House Fire Ahead of Christmas

In a heart-wrenching turn of events just weeks before Christmas, a family in Appleshaw, faced the harrowing experience of losing their home to a devastating fire. The incident, which occurred on December 2, saw the destruction of two connecting homes, leaving the Burgess family in a dire situation.

The fire, which began around 3:30 am, quickly engulfed the cottages, resulting in the complete destruction of the roof and first floor. The Burgess family, consisting of husband and wife Rich and Katie, both 31, and their three children—12-year-old Jake, 14-year-old Riley, and 5-year-old Harper—narrowly escaped the blaze. The family revealed that the fire originated in one of the bedrooms due to a phone charger catching fire.

The Burgess family, who had owned the cottages for at least 80 years, lost not only their home but also Christmas presents, clothing, children’s toys, and cherished belongings. The impact of the fire prompted a compassionate response from the community, leading to the initiation of a fundraising campaign to help them rebuild their lives.

Laura, a family member, set up a fundraising page with a target of £10,000, aiming to provide essential support for the family. As of the latest update, nearly £3,700 has already been raised, showcasing the generosity and solidarity of the community.

Andover Darts Academy, where Riley and Jake are members, organized a donation event at the Andover Central Club on December 5. The academy expressed sympathy for the family’s loss and encouraged contributions to help them cope with the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Laura expressed gratitude for the support received from Andover Darts Academy, the Appleshaw community, and everyone who made contributions and donations to the family during this challenging time.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, while unable to confirm the cause of the fire, reported the significant damage, with one male being taken to the hospital due to smoke inhalation. The firefighting efforts involved multiple crews and equipment to combat the flames.

Additionally, fellow business owners Phil Nightingale and local councillor Cllr Iris Anderson extended their support to Richie Burgess, the proprietor of Burgos pet shop in George Yard. They reached out to the Andover business community, urging donations to assist the Burgess family in recovering from the devastating loss. Phil has a donation tin at his shop the Record Box that sits opposite Burgos Pet Shop.

The call for support from Phil Nightingale and Iris Anderson reflects a community coming together to provide comfort and aid during a challenging time. As businesses and individuals unite to offer assistance, the hope is to alleviate the immediate needs of the Burgess family and help them rebuild their lives after the tragic incident.