A family hopes to have as normal a Christmas as they can after their garage was destroyed in a fireball that shook their street.
Ann, Bob, Lucy and Charlie Tomlin were enjoying a quiet evening at home when they heard a huge explosion at about 7.30pm on Monday (December 21).
They rushed outside and found their garage had become an inferno.
Thankfully no-one was hurt in the blaze, which was eventually put out by three fire crews. But the Tomlins are now facing weeks of work to clear up the mess.
Ann said: “It was terrifying. We thought we were going to lose everything. But thankfully the house is OK.
“We had quite a lot of expensive mountain bikes in the garage. They are all burned out. And the roof is completely collapsed. My husband’s van is a write-off. It’s awful so close to Christmas.”
The cause of the fire itself is still unknown, but the bulk of the damage was done when the gas tank exploded. The family expect to be without a gas supply for about two weeks, and their aim now is just to make things as normal as possible for Christmas Day.
Ann said: “The engineers won’t come and sort the gas because they don’t know whether the garage is structurally sound. We’ve managed to get the electric sorted. But there’s a hole in the roof above the kids’ playroom. And it’s going to rain heavily, apparently.
“All we are trying to do is get it so we can spend Christmas morning there, open presents and then we can go and have a bath and everything at my father-in-law’s.”
Ann’s husband Bob is a floor fitter, and his van was in the garage when it caught fire. Carpets in the van were destroyed, but some of the tools can be salvaged.
“He’s got to get a hire van and just get on with it,” said Ann.
She added: “The kids have been up and down. My daughter has Asperger’s and changes are not good for her. But she has taken it in her stride.
“She just wants to be in the house for Christmas morning. That’s what we are desperately trying to sort out. And the presents are all OK.
“It’s an inconvenience, but at least the house is OK and no-one was hurt.”