Fire family overwhelmed by Honiton residents’ kindness

Christmas is not cancelled for the Kings - even though they have lost everything.

A family who lost everything in a house fire say they have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of Honiton residents.

Honiton Carpets worker Gary King, 31, his heavily pregnant wife Sheila, 30, and their three children - Dylan, 12, Lauren, 11, and Cameron, six - escaped after a freak accident caused a fire to rip through their council home in Monkton just over a week ago.

Thirty percent of the property at Otter View was badly damaged by fire and the rest of the house suffered smoke damage.

The Kings lost everything, including their children’s Christmas presents.

But, thanks to kind-hearted residents and businesses, their children will not go without on December 25.

All the presents have been replaced and efforts are under way to raise money to help the family get back on their feet.

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“I want to say thank you to everyone. It is the most overwhelming thing that has ever happened to us,” Gary told the Midweek Herald.

The Kings found themselves homeless after a smouldering log, which had been tossed outside in the rain, caught alight more than three hours later and licked a holly wreath on their door.

The door then went up in flames and the blaze spread to the house.

Gary ran to his bedroom window after seeing flames through his eyelids as he was drifting off to sleep.

“I saw the front door was on fire - then the smoke alarm went off,” he said.

“We were already getting out of the property. If we had waited for the alarm, we may not have got out.”

The Kings were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation but were otherwise unharmed. Their eight month old Alaskan malamute puppy, Poppy, was also saved.

Gary says the family is gutted to have lost items of great sentimental value, including a big haul of football trophies awarded to his elder son.

Even though the family is now homeless and staying with relatives in Exeter, they say the kindness of people in Honiton is keeping them going.

“People we don’t even know have bought my kids Christmas presents,” said Gary. “Some children have given their presents to my children. It is overwhelming.”

Charity Reason is paying for the Kings to visit Plymouth this weekend, where they will watch a pantomime and be treated to a night in a bed and breakfast.