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Wennington fire: Son hopes parents whose home was destroyed in heatwave fire never return to see what’s left

Written by on 25 July 2022

All that’s left of George Allen’s parents’ house is two-and-a-half walls, and a pile of rubble. 

There is no evidence a roof ever existed – the empty shell now opens to the sky.

In fact, what remains looks more like the aftermath of a rocket attack than a one-time family home.

His parents George and Edith, now in their 80s, moved here more than 50 years ago when he was 14.

The fire started in their garden and quickly consumed the house.

They weren’t in at the time because his elderly father is in hospital. Had they been, Mr Allen is certain they would be gone as well.

“I’d be crying now, wouldn’t I? I’d be grieving,” he told Sky News.

“They wouldn’t have outrun it. My dad would’ve been trying to put the fire out with a half-inch garden hose, and my mum right behind him saying ‘where do you want me to throw this bottle of water?’.”

As the police cordon lifted this afternoon, Mr Allen returned to see if there was anything he could salvage from the charred wreckage.

He said: “There was all sorts of silly things in there, like me old nan’s last packet of fags she had before she gave up smoking 30 years ago and I just wanna get in there now.

“There must be something in there, something I can give them back, just one thing.”

It would be a miracle if he did find anything. The destruction is absolute.

 Image: George Allen, 64, says his parents moved into the house 50 years ago

Blackened bricks, broken glass and two burnt-out, partially melted cars are all that remain of a lifetime of possessions.

“You always knew the door was open you know, now it ain’t,” he said, his words heavy with sorrow.

“It took my mum three days to tell my dad because she didn’t want to put him under any trauma in hospital.”

According to fire officials on site, some residents whose homes were destroyed are still away on holiday, and so are yet to see the extent of the damage.

George says his parents are “philosophical” about losing their home, but he thinks they shouldn’t return, in order to preserve the memories of what they once had.

“I hope they don’t – I wouldn’t like them to see it like this. It’s best to keep the memories you’ve got, isn’t it?” he said.