Sussex

Crawley neighbours step in after fire guts family home

Faran Azad and his family
Image caption Faran Azad and his family stayed with a friend overnight following the fire

A community has rallied round a family of five who have been left homeless by a fire which gutted their Crawley home.

The fire broke out in Winchester Road at about 11:00 BST on Tuesday.

Faran Azad had lived in the house with his wife and three young children for five years.

He said a neighbour set up a fundraising page "while the fire was still going" which had so far raised over £1,100. The family did not have any contents insurance, he said.

They are now waiting to find out if temporary accommodation is available.

He said his daughter was upstairs doing schoolwork when she smelt smoke, adding: "I saw the fire - it had started at the back of the wardrobe and it just kept going. Watching your house burn in front of you is one of the worst feelings you could have."

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said crews faced a "well-developed fire" in one of the first-floor bedrooms when they arrived.

Chloe Harrison, 18, who comforted the children during the fire, said most of the neighbours came out to help, adding: "I'm devastated for the family."

Paul Graves, who set up the fundraising page to help the Azads, said the community's response to the fire had been "really really impressive".

He said people had offered to donate furniture and clothes, adding: "To see the response it's got locally has been brilliant."

Image copyright Faran Azad
Image caption Mr Azad said most of the upstairs of the family home had been destroyed
Image copyright Faran Azad
Image caption One of the upstairs windows was blown out during the fire

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