Community rally round to support family after devastating house fire

The house fire in Tennyson Road, Harpenden.

The house fire in Tennyson Road, Harpenden. - Credit: Herts Fire and Rescue Service

A Harpenden family whose new home was devastated in a massive house fire say they have been overwhelmed by the support received from the community.

Mark Goodman-Walsh and his wife Elena, who is seven months pregnant, and their 15-month-old son, were horrified to hear that the house they only bought in December had been gutted by an accidental fire at around 7am on Sunday.

The family had been enjoying a holiday at Center Parcs in Woburn when the blaze occurred, and fortunately their pet whippet Twiggy was staying with their in-laws.

They have now been left homeless and are searching for somewhere to live while repairs are underway to their Tennyson Road property.

The damage wreaked by the fire in Tennyson Road, Harpenden.

The damage wreaked by the fire in Tennyson Road, Harpenden. - Credit: Herts Fire and Rescue Service

Mark told the Herts Ad: "It's going to take at least a year before we're back in - the damage is devastating , it's going to need a new roof, part of the front wall and back wall and every single wall inside.

"You can see the sky from the bottom of the stairs and four of the rooms."

The cause of the inferno has yet to be determined, but most of the family's possessions were destroyed.

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Fire engines from Harpenden, Redbourn, St Albans, Wheathampstead, Kings Langley and Rickmansworth attended the fire along with an aerial ladder platform from Watford.

A GoFundMe page in support of the family has been set up by physiotherapist Charley Dodson, a friend of Elena's she met at a baby class, fundraising for essentials the family needs to help them get back on their feet, and has already collected more than £11,000.

Mark added: "It is quite overwhelming - you don't anticipate such a positive response from everyone. The road we moved into is so friendly and they said that when we moved in. I'm sure that wherever you are people rally round you but I can't tell you how amazing and makes you feel quite emotional. 

"We don''t think you would get this sort of response everywhere. There has been such love from people - even people we never met  - and I don't know how we will be able to repay them."