A family has been left homeless after a horror blaze tore through their Doncaster home and killed their pet dog.
The McDonald family – who discovered they have no house insurance – have been told their burnt wreck of a home will have to be completely rebuilt, which could cost £100,000.
Their much-loved George Washington Terrier, Tilly, died in the blaze at their home in Grangefield Avenue, Rossington. Residents have rallied round in the wake of the tragedy and a fundraising page set up by neighbours has already raised £600 for the family.
A Rossington Big Build page has also been set up in a bid to rebuild the home in a DIY SOS style mission.
Carers Chris, aged 51, and wife Sadie, 32, live in the house with their children Mitchell, two, and nine-year-old Kitty who suffers from dyspraxia.
Chris’ son from a previous relationship, 14-year-old James, also splits his time between the home and his mum’s house.
Chris said: “We just want to say a massive thank you to everyone, we are absolutely overwhelmed by the support, we are both very proud people and feel bad that people are going out of their way to help, because people have their own lives and own troubles but without their support I don’t know how we’d have coped.
“They’ve made us feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”
The family were only out of the house 15 minutes when the blaze broke out around 3.20pm on Tuesday.
When they returned Chris tried to get into the property and was engulfed in smoke and thrown back by the backdraft.
After trying in vain to rescue Tilly, Chris was forced to leave the house and let the emergency services take over.
“I was trying to crawl on my stomach shouting for Tilly, she always came running to me but I couldn’t see her.
“I think my instinct just took over and I wanted to get Tilly out but the heat was too much, all the hairs on my arm were singed and the smoke was billowing out.
“We are all so heartbroken - Tilly was part of the family and the kids loved her.”
The McDonald family are currently staying with relatives. To help visit the Rossington Big Build Project on Facebook or www.gofundme.com/h4vo3k
“The emergency services were fantastic. They managed to get Tilly out. Later a policewoman even helped me dig a hole in the back garden to bury Tilly near an apple tree where she used to love running around in the back garden.”
The couple, who had just finished decorating the house weeks before the blaze, lost everything in the fire including treasured family photos.
“The Red Cross turned up and said, ‘Have you managed to get anything?’ and I just looked and said, ‘Just the clothes on our back’ - that was a really upsetting moment.
“Sadie has just been amazing, she’s devastated but trying to keep things as normal as possible for the children, I don’t know what I’d do without her.”