GoFundMe page set up to help young family rebuild their life after fire destroys home in Northampton town centre

"We're really overwhelmed. I just want to thank all the community.”

Friday, 1st July 2022, 2:23 pm

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help a family who were forced to flee their home following a devastating fire at their flat block in Northampton town centre.

Vien Demasu-ay, his wife and two-year-old son saw their rented flat in Sheep Street, opposite The Bear pub, destroyed in a fire on Tuesday evening (June 28), which started at around 6.30pm.

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Vien, his son and wife were forced to flee their flat in Sheep Street due to a devastating fire

The young family from the Phillipines moved to Northampton in November to start a new life, with Vien recently working at Northampton General Hospital (NGH) as a nurse and his wife set to join him this month (July).

Explaining how events unfolded, Vien said: "I was at work. My wife was with my son taking a bath around 6.30pm. My wife said there was smoke coming out of the toilet seat through the ceiling. At first she wasn't thinking it was a fire.

"The smoke then started to spread. My wife picked my son up out of the bath, clothed him and ran outside. She set the alarm off and called the fire department. Luckily, my wife pressed the fire alarm otherwise the whole building would have burned down.”

Vien only realised what was happening when he finished his shift and checked his phone, an hour after the fire started.

The scene outside the flats in Sheep Street on Tuesday (June 28)

He said: "I ran over to my house from the hospital. I was only thinking about my wife and my son's safety. I was so relieved when I saw them. The only thing I wanted in that moment was for them to be safe, nothing else.

"You don't imagine having this happened to you here in the UK. I really didn't expect this would happen to us. Luckily, the fire department were so fast to deploy.

"The Bear pub opened its doors for tenants. I would like to commend the pub for its hospitality, they gave us water and food.”

Vien's friend and colleague Maria Sagucio has since started a GoFundMe page for the family after half of their belongings were destroyed.

Maria wrote on the page: "Vien, his wife and their two-year-old son are in urgent need of essential supplies to support them. This page has been set up to source funds to support them in this crisis and in their rebuild back to some normality.

"If you are able to donate any money, this will be used to directly help Vien and his family in this extremely challenging time."

At the time of writing (July 1), the GoFundMe has raised £3,439 of its £5,000 target.

Reacting to the support, Vien said: "It's already raised around £3,500. It's like, wow, this fundraising is really helping us start all over again.

"We're really overwhelmed. We didn't expect it because we are new here and we really don't have lots of friends. I just want to thank all the community.

"Looking forward, we hope this doesn't happen again."

Vien and his family say their health is fine and that they are currently staying in temporary accommodation provided to them by their landlord.

According to Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, initial investigations indicate that the fire was started accidentally. There were no casualties or injuries reported.

Heidi Smoult, hospital Chief Executive at NGH said: "Everyone at NGH has been so shocked and saddened to hear about the loss Vien and his family have suffered due to the fire in their home.

"I would like to send our best to them, and we will support them through this challenging time as an organisation, as their colleagues and as their friends.

"Our team at NGH have shown overwhelming generosity and care since hearing the news and as Chief Executive I am proud of how our colleagues have responded with such compassion and kindness.

"I would like to thank all of those in the hospital and wider community for supporting Vien, his wife and their son with urgent donations of essential items and fundraising to help them to access the items they need.”