Family’s heartache at insurance lapse after fire destroys their home

A heartbroken Larkhall widow has been left devastated after fire engulfed her family home.

Jill Davies watched on in disbelief last Sunday as the huge blaze took hold of the bungalow she once shared with late husband Steve, 49, who passed away in 2017.

Tragically the 51-year-old has since discovered her home insurance has lapsed, meaning the property, in Nursery Drive, Ashgill, is not covered for the extensive rebuild costs.

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Friends and family, however, have rallied around the mum-of-three in a bid to raise funds to help the reconstructive costs – and so far, over £10,000 has been donated.

Family's heartache at insurance lapse after fire destroys their home

The family fear the building will have to be completely demolished after it was extensively damaged (Image: Handout)

Jill, who works for South Lanarkshire Council, was at home with her son Murray, 21, her new partner, his father and the family dog Skye when a fire was started in a nearby park on Sunday afternoon.

The flames quickly spread and set her house alight leaving the family unable to do anything but look on as Jill’s treasured memories were destroyed.

Devastated daughter-in-law, Lynsey Davies, set up the fundraiser upon hearing of the insurance lapse.

She told Lanarkshire Live: “It’s just absolutely heartbreaking especially when it’s not something that has been an accidental house fire.

“It just makes it so much harder to take.

“It was Sunday afternoon, just after 4pm, when my husband Shane and I got a phone call from a family friend. She told us the house was on fire and that everybody had got out safe, but it was really quite bad so we should get there as soon as possible.

“When the fire service got there, there was a fire hydrant across from the house, but it was locked and they couldn’t get access to it.

Family's heartache at insurance lapse after fire destroys their home

Brother Shane (left) and Murray (right) watched on as the fire service tackled the blaze (Image: Handout)

“The same happened with a couple of others, so they had to go round to another street to access it before calling for more fire engines because they had to daisy chain the appliances.

“So it was about an hour before they were able to get any water on the house by which point the fire was well developed.”

Jill and son Murray were literally left with the clothes on their backs and Jill’s mobile phone as they stood watching the blaze take hold from the street.

Lynsey also told how the family had struggled to cope following the death of Steve who passed away suddenly in hospital while being treated for a blood clot.

The couple had met when they were teenagers and had a long, happy marriage, despite losing their son Christopher at just 19-days-old in 1991.

Lynsey added: “Steve passed away in August 2017 and Jill has just had such a tough time of it over the years.

Family's heartache at insurance lapse after fire destroys their home

Jill and her late husband Steve outside the family bungalow (Image: Handout)

“We don’t know what happened in terms of the house insurance, but we’ve since discovered it wasn’t renewed – so they’re not covered.

“It’s just been a really unfortunate oversight with devastating consequences. So now we’re just trying to raise as much money as possible to support them in terms of basic necessities.

“We do hope to raise enough to help cover the costs of rebuilding because the damage is so bad that it will be a case of demolish and start again.

“This was the family home and there’s all these sentimental memories of Steve attached to it.

“When Steve passed away, he left some life insurance money and most of that was spent on doing up the house. Jill was just starting to get her life back.

“She’d met someone in the last year and was really happy, but it seems that just as soon as she gets a bit of joy in her life, it comes back round and smacks her back down.

Family's heartache at insurance lapse after fire destroys their home

Mum-of-three Jill and her late hubby Steve

“Jill has had the poorest run of luck going. I just don’t understand how all this can happen to one person – is just so cruel.

“Everything that this family has been through is just horrendous, so to have this at the end of all of that, is just awful.

“We’ve got through worse so we will get through this, but it’s just going to take a bit of time and just have to rely on the kindness of strangers during a really difficult time.

Lynsey praised the local community, saying the neighbours have shown “such concern” and have “gone out of their way” to help.

A police investigation into the cause of the fire remains ongoing however and while officers do not believe the house was targeted, they fear it was deliberately started nearby.

Family's heartache at insurance lapse after fire destroys their home

The happy couple met when Jill was just 15-years-old but their marriage was tragically cut short

A force spokesman said: “Around 5.10 pm on Sunday, 18 April, 2021, police were called to a report of a fire at a house in Nursery Drive, Ashgill, Larkhall. On arrival, the house was well ablaze.

“The fire was extinguished and there has been extensive damage to the premises. Four people within were not injured and did not require hospital treatment.

“Enquiries are continuing.”

To donate to the fundraiser, click here.

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