'Absolutely amazing' Rainworth community praised after fire at family's home

The family of a woman who had to flee a terrifying fire at her home have hailed the support of the Rainworth community as “absolutely amazing”.

By Richard Silverwood
Tuesday, 26th April 2022, 11:32 am
The aftermath of the terrifying fire at Claire White's family home in Rainworth.
The aftermath of the terrifying fire at Claire White's family home in Rainworth.

The fire broke out at a house on Third Avenue in Rainworth, where Claire White lived with husband Justin, daughter Tanya, 27, and son Brandon, 20.

Claire was alone in the house at the time and in bed, asleep. She escaped only after being woken up by the “barking and screeching” of the family’s pet dog, Dexter.

Sadly, Dexter, a French bulldog, died in the blaze, which all but destroyed the house, leaving the family homeless.

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Flames rise into the sky as the blaze takes hold.

But since the fire, which happened at about 10 pm on Tuesday last week, people in Rainworth have rallied round to help the White family.

Clothes and essential items have been donated, and a cheque for £500 has been handed over by the Teamvinyl community group, which runs the annual Renfest family fun day and music festival in the village.

“The community has been absolutely amazing,” said Tanya. “The amount of support we have received from friends, family and strangers is out of this world.

"The fire has changed our lives forever, so we cannot thank everyone enough. We have cried more times than a little – and we have laughed to try and stop the reality.”

The fire also caused damage next door.

Tanya said so much damage was caused to the Whites’ home, which they owned, that it was no longer fit to live in.

"We are staying with our grandma, who lives two or three doors down on Third Avenue,” she added.

"But I think the plan is to rent somewhere new and start afresh.”

Tanya also paid tribute to Dexter, saying: “He was a lifesaver. If it hadn’t been for him, my mum wouldn’t have got out. He didn’t deserve to die.”

Another photo showing the considerable damage caused by the fire on Third Avenue, Rainworth

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The homes of the Whites’ next-door neighbours were damaged too, including that of Sarah Tomlinson, who was also asleep when the blaze broke out.

Sarah was woken by Claire frantically banging on her door after she had fled from her own house.

Posting on Facebook, Sarah described the night as “the scariest thing in the world”, adding: “My neighbour’s house caught fire and a gas explosion happened.

"The whole street was banging my door down, trying to wake me up.”

Sarah also had to move out and found a hotel to stay in as she looked for temporary accommodation.

"We need somewhere to live for up to six months,” she said.

"If anyone knows of any houses to rent, preferably in Hucknall, please let me know. Obviously, it would only be short term.”

Sarah is originally from Hucknall and also works in the town, so it would be more convenient for her to find somewhere there.

She added: “There’s a big lesson here because you never know what’s going to happen in life, and you should never take anything for granted.”

The blaze was so severe that eight fire engines were dispatched to the scene by Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service.

A spokesman for the service said: “An investigation is under way, and we are assisting the police.”

The cause of the fire has yet to be established, but workers from the gas company, Cadent, also attended and isolated the gas supply after identifying a potential external gas leak.