Community rallies behind family who escaped Killinghall house-fire

Karen and Jon Martin have been left overwhelmed by the support of the community
Karen and Jon Martin have been left overwhelmed by the support of the community
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A family has been left overwhelmed by the support of the community following their escape from a house-fire in Killinghall

Close to 100 people filled Killinghall C.O.E Primary School on Sunday afternoon (April 22) for a day of musical performances from the children of Dragon Music and the primary school choir to raise funds for the Martin family.

Elena (6) and Ingrid (10) Martin

Elena (6) and Ingrid (10) Martin

An electrical fire broke out late at night in their home on Moor Close last month. Smoke detectors alerted the family in time to get out unharmed but extensive damage was caused to the house and the majority of their possessions were destroyed. The family believe work could take at least six months before they are able to return.

While donations are expected to continue pouring in the total amount currently raised stands at close to £800, and the family say the day “has raised their spirits.” Not only will funds cover the costs of repairs and a day-trip for the family they hope their story helped raise the importance of smoke detectors and fire safety.

Karen Martin said: “It went really well, lots of people were there and the kids were fantastic, the Fire Brigade even said it such a great opportunity to talk to people about fire safety and making changes.

“We are just overwhelmed by the amazing generosity of people, it was so kind of them to do this for us. The day just lifted our spirits.”
She added: “Getting that message out there on fire safety is one of our main focuses now, making other people know how important it is to have smoke detectors installed and how something like this can happen to anyone. We want to give people a chance like we had.
“I hope that others will make sure they have a plan in place, have smoke detectors installed and know that the fire brigade will come out for free to fit one and can check them.”

After news of the fire reached the music teachers of her eldest daughter Ingrid,10, Co-Directors of Dragon Music, Sarah Jobson and Debbie Scherer, decided to help organise the event for the family. The Martins wished to give thanks to their efforts, alongside those of Kerry Kidd and Helen Potter for helping make the day possible.

On the day Ingrid performed alongside other children, whilst her younger sister Elena, aged six, received a special donation.

Debbie said: “This was such a nice day, everyone who we asked came forward to help. One of the families also donated what must have been a 6ft stuffed monkey for Elena. It was so good to see a smile on her face.”

Karen previously spoke to the Advertiser and flagged how little time the family had to escape after the smoke detectors alerted them to the fire, which had started at a fuse box located in the downstairs hallway of the house.
She said: “We were all in bed at the time, when I woke up I thought that I was still dreaming. I asked my husband Jon what the noise was thinking it was his alarm.
“He realised it was the smoke detector and went to the top of the stairs, he just said to me “grab the girls I can see smoke and flames.”
“I had enough time to get my daughters while Jon grabbed his phone and keys to open the door. We managed to get out of the front door but a minute later the side door window cracked and the flames poured out.”
She added: “I dread to think what would have happened if our alarm was not working. People might think they don’t want to bother because they think they are a pain, but it saved our lives.”

It is a sentiment shared by the North Yorkshire Fire Rescue Service who joined the festivities to speak on the importance of fire safety.

Richard Hanley, Station Manager for Harrogate District said: “People were very keen to listen to fire safety advice as their knowledge of the incident and the impact on the family was known to them personally. They had seen the consequences first hand which made them more aware of the need to fit smoke detection and also think about a fire escape plan in the home.The crews felt their attendance was welcomed and appreciated by all they talked to."