Family devastated after house went up in flames on New Year’s Day

A family have been left devastated after a fire broke out at their home on New Year’s Day, destroying everything they own.

Pete Osborne, 57, and Wendy Smith, 59, along with Pete’s son Josh Osborne, 19, and their family dog Mia, were just a week out from Christmas and had put all their presents away ready to rein in the new year when the blaze struck.

Firefighters were called to the property at Carwollen Road, St Austell, around noon on January 1 as smoke was seen rising from a row of properties in a blaze that would go on to destroy the entire upstairs and cause the roof to cave in.

The downstairs remained relatively untouched from the flames but was destroyed by the water damage.

Josh Osborne, who lives between his two parents’ houses, says despite losing so many precious items and a difficult time ahead of them that “it could have been a lot worse”.

He described how on an ordinary New Year’s Day the entire extended family could have been at the home celebrating but because of Covid-19 they had no plans this year and fortunately nobody was home when the fire broke out.

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Josh was out with his girlfriend at the time of the blaze, his dad was at work with their dog Mia, and Wendy was also out of the house.

Josh said: “Fortunately dad was at his shop (CLK Coal Logs and Kindling) with his girlfriend and the dog so we were so lucky it wasn’t a normal New Year’s Day because we would have had loads of family around and it could have been a lot worse really.

“My dad and his partner managed to get in and get a few of their clothes out after the fire but all their personal stuff like my nan’s stuff, who passed away a few years ago, and everything she gave him before passing is gone.

“It’s all that sentimental stuff and you just can’t go out and buy it again. My room was one of the worst ones affected so I lost everything and couldn’t get it out but I’m lucky that I live at my mum’s place as well so I have stuff there but again the stuff my nan gave me, you can never get that back.”

Fire near St Austell
Fire near St Austell
(Image: Fowey Community Fire Station)

Josh went onto say that his dad and partner have been left devastated by the blaze and are currently staying at a nearby Premier Inn while they wait for a more permanent solution while Josh and their dog Mia are staying at his mum’s place.

“I’ve lost all my personal things and everything I got for Christmas because we had just put it all away in our rooms,” he continued. “It’s the initial reaction when you realise it is gone and you don’t have what you had anymore even like the childhood pictures from school that all mean something.

“The contents people from the insurance company have since come in and gave rough idea of how much it is worth inside and you have your fingers crossed that it will make up for it but in your head when you hear that figure you think how much more all that stuff was worth to you than them because it is stuff you can’t get back.

“It’s not just the material stuff either but the memories like the meals you had there and the groups that were together there before Christmas.

“I’m putting on a brave face for my dad really because he is so devastated so I’m trying to keep spirits up and keep his mind away from it.”

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Just days following on from the blaze Josh said he and his dad have been overwhelmed by the local people and can’t thank them enough after they came out to support them in their time and need.

His mum Lisa Roach also setup a fundraiser to help them out with anything they might need while they wait for news from their insurance company.

Josh said: “The amount of donations and stuff and support has been incredible.

“Dad runs a business and me and my best mate work from him we see customers all the time and all those people who we usually just say hello to in the morning and smile have offered money and help and all of them are coming back even now saying if we need any help to just let them know.

Pictures show the devastating aftermath of the New Year’s Day blaze
(Image: Josh Osborne)

“Our family want to say a massive thank you because we didn’t expect anything really so when everyone started donating it was heartwarming.

“It’s hard to say thank you to people when you don’t actually know them but we are so grateful and want them to know that we are using the money to get basics like clothes to get us through right now and to potentially furnish accommodation.

“But any money that we don’t use or need we will be donating to Cornwall Air Ambulance.”

Josh added that the firefighters seemed to think the fire started from the home log burner on the day but they should know more following an investigation that is taking place today (January 5).

If you want to donate and support the family you can visit the fundraiser here.

Cornwall Live