Family of six 'left with nothing' after firework thrown on balcony destroys flat

A family of six has been left with nothing after a firework landed on their balcony and destroyed their flat.

The incident on Halloween last year caused a ‘serious fire’ to rip through the property in Notting Hill, London, forcing the couple and their four children to move out with nothing but the clothes they were wearing.

An 11-year-old was arrested the same day and bailed to return in January 2021.

While none of the family were hurt they have lost ‘everything’, from school books and laptops, to clothing, household appliances and furniture.

Emily Engel, a 67-year-old retired social worker, has set up a GoFundme page for the family to help them rebuild their lives.

She is speaking out on the mother’s behalf as she is too traumatised to talk.

She told MyLondon News: ‘They are all affected emotionally and upset by it, and the thought of starting again with nothing.

‘The whole lot is gone. That is jaw-dropping, how are they going to
manage that?’

Miss Engel said the mum, a care worker, is not entitled to sick pay but is still expected to pay the rent. She was working full time until recently, with the family now waiting on Universal Credit payments.

The family are currently living in a hotel but have no access to laundry or cooking facilities, so they are depending on takeaways.

One of the children, who is currently a student, had an assignment due but lost it along with a year’s worth of work on her laptop.

Two of the other children, the youngest of whom is just 12-years-old, are now doing their homework on mobile phones.

Schools have provided uniforms and books but the children are in desperate need of trainers and clothing.

Ms Engel said the mum is ‘really worried about her kids’, adding: ‘She’s completely high and dry and lost, and desperate to start again as quickly as possible.’

The GoFundme page asks for donations to help the family replace the lost property, which includes ‘everyday things like clothes and toiletries, as well as the furniture and equipment they will need when they are re-housed’.

Ms Engel said: ‘Any help you can offer, even £1, will go towards their urgent needs as well as to prepare them to rebuild a family home.

‘But most important, they also need to know that they have the support of the community they have lived in for many years, that the rest of us condemn the heinous crime that has been committed.’

The Metropolitan Police said enquires are ‘ongoing’ into the fire.

A statement said: ‘On Saturday, October 31 at approximately 7pm, a firework was fired from Avondale Park, Notting Hill and landed in the balcony of a nearby flat.

‘This caused a serious fire that resulted in the residents, a family of six, having to move out of their home.

‘No-one inside the flat was harmed, however a neighbour was injured
after inhaling smoke.

‘An 11-year-old was arrested the same day and bailed to return in January 2021.’

You can donate to the family’s GoFundme page here

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