Young family devastated after house fire kills their pet Staffy

Young family are left devastated after horrific house fire which started when they were out kills Lola, their beloved pet Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Caitlin Brook, 24, was out with her family when she heard her home was on fire
  • The extensive blaze destroyed her belongings and even popped out the windows
  • Lola, a two-year-old Staffordshire terrier, perished in the destructive house fire 
  • Ms Brook described the paranoia and trauma caused in the wake of the incident 
  • The young family, from Catchgate, County Durham, have been left homeless 

A young family have been left devastated after a horrific house fire that killed their beloved pet dog.

Caitlin Brook, 24, was out with her partner, Simon Miller, 28, and their two daughters, four-year-old Skyla and one-year-old Cara, when one of her friends rang to say her home was on fire.

Her friend then video called her to show her the thick black smoke covering the house in Catchgate, County Durham, at around midday.

Caitlin’s two-year-old staffy, Lola, died in the fire on Sunday, May 15, as no one could access the property in time to save her.

The part-time university student and mum-of-two has moved in with a friend while waiting on the report to find out the cause of the fire, which is suspected to have started from her garden.

A young family have told of their heartbreak after a devastating housefire left them homeless and killed their two-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, named Lola (pictured) 

Four-year-old Skyla (pictured) was heartbroken after learning that the family dog, Lola, had died 

The young family from Catchgate, County Durham, have been left homeless after a conflagration ripped through their rental property and destroyed all of their belongings. Pictured: Caitlin Brook, 24, Simon Miller, 28, and their two daughters, four-year-old Skyla and one-year-old Cara

Firefighters told Caitlin that, if she and her family had been in the house at the time, they would have only had ten minutes to get out alive 

Caitlin said she found out about the fire after a neighbour video called her and showed her the plumes of black smoke emanating from the house

Although Caitlin shouted to her neighbour over the phone to get Lola the Staffy (pictured) out of the burning property, she said a bad signal interfered with the message

The fire is believed to have started in the property’s garden, although the family is still waiting on the results of an official investigation 

Caitlin explained: ‘I just couldn’t believe it when my friend told us. 

‘The first thing I shouted was get the dog out.

‘Lola was inside and all I could think was she was trapped inside, 

‘I was screaming to get the dog out of the house but my connection was so bad.

‘It’s bad but I initially thought it was a joke until my friend video called me. It’s what goes through your mind at first. 

‘You don’t think something like this would ever happen to you.

‘It was a rental and all I kept doing was apologising to my landlord.

‘The damage is so bad that the house is going to be completely demolished.

‘We were 25 minutes away from the house so there wasn’t anything we could do except rush back home.

‘At the minute, I just feel numb. I don’t really know how to feel. Everything has gone including Lola.

‘I don’t feel like it has happened; it hasn’t sunk in yet. 

‘I just keep thinking about the dog. It keeps playing on my mind.

‘We’re still waiting on the initial report from the fire brigade as to how it started, but they suspect it started in the garden as an accident.

‘I have no idea how a fire could have started in the garden whilst I was out.

‘I just keep thinking what could I have done.

‘This has had such an impact on me. Every night I now go around looking at plugs making sure they’re off.

‘I left the fridge open the other day so it started to beep and I got so scared thought it was smoke alarm going off.

‘I just keep thinking every little thing is fire and I’m so anxious it is awful. 

‘I have so much guilt, but at least my children are safe.

‘My neighbour called the fire brigade and when we got there, the house was covered in smoke.

‘There were people saying things were exploding inside the house and the windows were popping out.

‘I am able to claim on my insurance.

‘We will only gain around £5000 but to me that will make me feel like a millionaire. 

One-year-old Cara cuddles up with the beloved family Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Lola

Caitlin, who was renting the property, said she ‘kept apologising’ to her landlord

With all of her belongings destroyed, Caitlin said she has one small consolation: a £5,000 insurance pay out on the way

It is not clear how the blaze started, although it is believed to have begun in the garden

‘I have nothing right now.

‘I didn’t know I was paying contents insurance but I am so glad I was.

‘I am now having to cancel all of my direct debits and bills. 

‘Silly things like cancelling my TalkTalk as I won’t be living at that address anymore.

‘I just keep remembering random items that are now gone. 

‘I had just bought a new hoover, my uni work has all been destroyed and I was just about to finish my course and submitting my last piece of work.’

Caitlin said she had been blown away by the kindness of her friends and family.

She said: ‘So many people have been messaging me offering support. 

‘We have had so much donated to us already and so many people are willing to offer things to us such as their televisions. 

‘People are buying us clothes and shoes. It is unbelievable.

‘All of my documents and identifications have gone.

‘I don’t even have my passport or driver’s license to prove to the council who I am so I can apply for a house.

‘If it wasn’t for my friend I would be homeless right now.

‘My friend has also set up a Go Fund Me to raise money for us to get started again.

‘We have lost everything, but at least we haven’t lost our lives. 

‘Everything else is replaceable and the money raised will mean so much to me knowing that I can start again. 

‘I have no words for the kindness of everyone that has been willing to help.

‘The fire brigade told us if we were at home we would have only had ten minutes to get out the house and surviving, 

‘Imagine if we were sleeping in the house at the time.

‘Some people have been really horrible about what’s happened, telling me it’s an insurance claim.

‘I just never thought this would happen to me, but I am just so grateful me and my children are fine.’

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