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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

How to help victims of the Wennington fire who’ve ‘lost everything’

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People are doing what they can to help Claire and Antony Taylor’s family get back on their feet (Picture: GoFundMe)

Communities are chipping in to help the people of Wennington – an east London village that was devastated in yesterday’s wildfires.

Dramatic aerial images show rows of burnt out terraced houses and surrounding fields reduced to ashes.

It came as London faced record breaking temperatures of over 40°C, with the fire brigade declaring a ‘major incident’ as it dealt with its busiest day since the Blitz.

Nearly 20 homes in Wennington were destroyed in the village as fire was blown across bone-dry scrubland.

Six single storey garages, 12 stables and five cars were set ablaze, as nearly 100 people were evacuated from their houses.

On top of being left homeless, victims have told how they had vital medicine in their homes and had lost their prized possessions.

As people in the village pick up the pieces, neighbouring communities, and kindhearted donors elsewhere in Britain, have been giving what they can to help them recover.

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People in the east London village of Wennington had never seen anything like yesterday’s inferno (Picture: SWNS)
Nearly 100 people were evacuated from their homes, not knowing if they’d still be there when they returned (Picture: SWNS)
Yesterday the London Fire Brigade declared a ‘major incident’ as they were responding to so many calls (Picture: SWNS)

Already more than 2,400 people have joined the Wennington fire donations Facebook page – a platform for donors to give away food, clothing and other essentials.

People affected by the fire can message the group and tell them what they are in need of. They have also been sharing photos of missing pets in the hope of being reunited.

More than £7,000 has been shared on a GoFundMe page set up by Natalie De Lucia, who used to live there.

She wrote: ‘Being previous residents of Wennington, it’s heartbreaking to see our previous neighbours losing everything they have. Their homes, clothes, and memories.

‘We are trying to raise as much as we can to help the residents of Wennington as much as we can.’

Stables, cars and people’s prized possessions were destroyed in the blaze (Picture: SWNS)
One resident reportedly started digging a trench around his home to keep the spreading fire at bay (Picture: SWNS)
Some people sheltered in the church, but it quickly began filling with smoke (Picture: SWNS)
The charred remains of homes after yesterday’s disaster (Picture: SWNS)

A GoFundMe page set up for the Taylor family, who have also lost ‘their home and all their lifelong possessions’, has raised more than £3,000 so far.

Organiser Carly Mcnab wrote: ‘Naturally, they are absolutely heartbroken by the devastation and destruction caused by the fires and they now face a long journey to rebuild their lives.

‘As their family, we want to help them get back on their feet again as quickly as possible. And we would love your support.

‘Claire and Antony have three young boys, aged 8, 6 and 18 months. Currently, two of the boys only have the clothes that they were wearing when they went to school before the tragic fire destroyed their family home.

‘So, we are asking all those who can to kindly donate whatever they can to help the Taylor family – and we thank all those in advance for their heartfelt compassion and generosity.’

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Fires raged across the city on Tuesday
The fire in Wennington came as London Fire Brigade declared a ‘major incident’ (Picture: Sky News)

Meanwhile Karlie Nicholls is trying to raise £1,234,567 for her dear friends who have ‘lost everything’, including their home, cars and business.

She wrote: ‘My dear friends and their beautiful three boys, aged 8, 6 and 2, have lost their home and all of their possessions, their cars and their business today in the awful fires in Wennington today.

‘I’m starting this fundraiser to help them to try rebuild their lives, and their home. Please give as little or as much you can to help this beautiful family.’

A rescue centre has been set up at the Wennington Premier Inn for residents who have been evacuated.

Riminta Maceikaite, 38, and her son Nikas Janulevicius, 13, said their neighbours’ homes have burned down but as far as they can see from TV aerial shots, their house is still standing.

Lizzie Pittman, from Aveley in Essex, who works at some stables by the roundabout, said she was looking after five horses that were evacuated.

She said: ‘This is your worst nightmare. You can see it getting closer and closer. People are losing their houses but that’s bricks and mortar. People are losing their livestock.’

Nearby resident, Lynn Sabberton, who said she was evacuated from her home with her partner who has a lung difficulty, told Sky News: ‘I saw the black smoke and the helicopters came over and more police came into our neighbourhood and it was really spreading very fast.

‘It just spread so quickly, I think the wind caused the fire to go our way towards the village.’

Freya Gutteridge, 23, from nearby Hornchurch – who works in marketing, said: ‘We’re all really worried, the wind is strong and we’re seeing on the news that loads of houses are on fire and there isn’t enough fire engines.

‘It’s crazy. Most of us in the office live really locally so we’re all worried about families’ houses at the moment.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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