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Crowdfunder set up to help Romford family who lost all their possessions in house fire caused by lightning strike

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:12 29 May 2018

L-R: Jasmine, Paul and Anna had to evacuate their home after a lightning strike started a fire.

L-R: Jasmine, Paul and Anna had to evacuate their home after a lightning strike started a fire.

Archant

Members of the Romford community are trying to raise money for a family who lost all their possessions after a lightning strike set their home on fire.

A lightning strike caused a house fire in Romford in the early hours of Sunday, May 27. Photo: Joe EmersonA lightning strike caused a house fire in Romford in the early hours of Sunday, May 27. Photo: Joe Emerson

Paul Robinson, 51, Anna Robinson, 32, their two-year-old daughter, Jasmine and David Dawe their landlord, were at home in Princes Road during the thunderstorm on Sunday, May 27, when a lightning strike started a fire.

The Robinson family live upstairs and Paul and Anna’s bed is right next to a window where they think the lightning struck.

Just before the lightning hit, Anna went downstairs to tend to Jasmine who had started crying, and Paul was at his desk working.

Paul told the Recorder: “It’s hard to say what really happened. When the lightning hit I wasn’t aware because I lost my senses and became completely disorientated.

A flat in Princes Road, Romford was severly damaged by a fire caused by a lightning strike on Sunday, May 27. Photo: Elaine HensonA flat in Princes Road, Romford was severly damaged by a fire caused by a lightning strike on Sunday, May 27. Photo: Elaine Henson

“Then I realised I did have a sense because I could smell smoke.

“Fortunately I had a wind-up torch in my desk and I was able to see the fire at the bottom of our bed.

“I went downstairs and I saw the light sockets had blown out through the wall and I thought maybe it was travelling through the wiring.”

Paul used to be a police officer and has experience of being in burning buildings.

As soon as he realised it was an electrical fire, he knew they all had to leave the house.

“I was starting to feel overcome by the smoke, and I realised that the flames weren’t going to kill but the smoke was,” he said.

“When we were outside there was a big bang, which was the glass [of the window] exploding.

“All I own now is my car and the clothes I’m wearing.”

Paul called the London Fire Brigade and firefighters arrived at the scene six minutes later.

“My wife has found it very traumatic, although she is quite impressed with how quickly it was dealt with by the fire services,” Paul added.

The family have temporarily moved into a friend’s home in Southend as they are currently on holiday, while David has gone to stay with his son in Witham.

Elaine Henson, a friend of the family, has set up a crowd funding page to raise some money and help the Robinsons get back on their feet.

Paul said: “The response has been good, we have got some lovely neighbours.

“We have been given so many cuddly toys. As a two-year-old [Jasmine] has no concept of what’s going on - it’s like Christmas for her.”

To support the Robinson family visit www.gofundme.com/yjwh2-help-the-robinsons.

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