Community rallies around Chesterfield family who ‘lost everything’ in devastating house fire

The community is rallying around a Chesterfield family after a devastating fire ripped through their home.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 3:14 pm

Amy and Latham Goucher say they 'lost everything' in Friday's horrific blaze.

Thankfully, the couple and their four young children, Gracie, Lidia, Alfie and Alanah, were out at the time of the fire.

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Amy and Latham Goucher with some of the donations they have received after the terrible blaze. Pictures by Brian Eyre.
Amy and Latham Goucher with some of the donations they have received after the terrible blaze. Pictures by Brian Eyre.

Family, friends and strangers are now coming to their aid with generous donations.

Amy, 31, said: "We were in the shop getting nappies and baby wipes when we got a call from a neighbour at 2.10pm to say ‘your house is on fire’.

“We immediately left the shop, came on to the street – Chesterfield Road in Middlecroft – and saw two fire engines and loads of smoke.”

She added: “We’ve lost everything.

The Gouchers with Sonia Russell, who has set up an online fundraising page to help the family, and Staveley Morrisons staff Tracy Spizer and Lisa Richardson who have donated children's clothes and toys. Lisa said: "Everyone at Staveley Morrisons was shocked and saddened by the news of the fire - and we just wanted to help the family and let them know we're thinking of them."

“Everything downstairs in the kitchen and living room is burnt, everything upstairs is smoke damaged.”

Electrical items, clothes and children’s toys were among the things lost in the blaze.

“It’s Lidia's 7th birthday on Sunday – her presents went up in flames,” Amy said.

“It’s awful, heartbreaking – you never think something like this will happen to you.

The house has been boarded up following the incident.

“But you know what, we’ve had so much support from the community – people have gone above and beyond.”

Amy thanked everyone, including Sonia Russell, Swally Walton, Donna Dudley, Sarah and Lee McNamara and staff at Staveley Morrisons, for their support and donations – including money, clothes and children’s toys.

Online fundraising page launched

A spokesperson for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We can confirm that the fire investigation concluded the most likely cause of the fire was accidental due to the electric hob being turned on with combustible materials on top and in the surrounding area.”

However, Amy said she ‘absolutely disputes this’ and added: “We know the cooker wasn’t on.

“Just before we left the house to go to the shop, my husband was cleaning the kitchen and he always checks the cooker.

“We believe this was an electrical fault.

“I will be asking for a full investigation on this.”

Amy said she and her family do not want to return to the Chesterfield Borough Council (CBC) house as there are ‘too many bad memories’ after the fire.

The property is now boarded up.

The family is currently staying with a relative and waiting to hear back from CBC about new accommodation.

A CBC spokesperson said: “We have been working closely with our partners at Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, and a fire investigation has concluded the most likely cause was accidental, due to an electric hob being turned on with combustible materials in the surrounding area.

“As a responsible landlord, the safety of our tenants is our top priority and we carry out regular safety checks to ensure everything is in order in their homes and ask them to get in touch with us if they have any issues. We also encourage all tenants to remember to check their electrical appliances regularly to ensure they are working correctly.

“Last year, the council received two reports of faults relating to this property, and on both occasions our team successfully carried out a repair.

“Our team will be working with the family following the incident to look at different housing options.”

An online fundraising page has been set up to support the Gouchers – people can donate via https://bit.ly/3eBEPSx.

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times editor

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