A couple who lost their home in a fire in Wennington have revealed their devastation after their home was destroyed.
Wildfires ravaged the capital during last week’s heatwave, destroying family homes, cars and livelihoods in east London.
Houses in the village were destroyed when grass caught fire during a 40.3 degree Celsius heat wave on Tuesday.
The Wennington fire was the most devastating of a number of major incidents on Tuesday, where 63 properties were destroyed across the UK.
Alfie and Helen Taylor, an elderly couple who have lived in their home in the village for nearly four decades, lost their home in a recent fire.
Houses go up in flames in Wennington, Greater London on July 25, 2022. Wildfires raged across England, damaging forests, grasslands and homes, on a day of the hottest weather ever recorded in the UK. In Wennington, east London, the worst urban damage was seen where houses were reduced to rubble.
The dry grass was engulfed in flames and turned black. London Fire Brigade sent 15 fire engines and 100 firefighters to the area to tackle the blaze, which engulfed several buildings and a grass field.
When asked if there was one thing she could have saved from the house fire, Mrs Taylor replied: ‘My mother’s table and chairs that she gave me before she died and jewellery, the grandchildren bought me and our own. The kids bought us.’
‘I can’t do this,’ she cried.
Speaking to Ivor Bennett on Sky News, the couple said it was ‘devastating’ to see their destroyed home.
Mr Taylor said it was his ‘life’s joy, life’s work’ that went into his beloved home, especially as Mrs Taylor said he had made the house ‘very nice’.
He said, ‘We’ve just done it, we’ve done a couple of rooms downstairs and another upstairs, all to no avail, just gone’.
The couple held each other close as they spoke outside their damaged home in Wennington
Cars and houses were destroyed in the fire that spread across the village, causing heavy losses to many people in a matter of hours
Asked how he would rebuild his life, Mr Taylor replied: ‘I don’t know.
‘I think it’s too old to do it again’
‘I just want my house back,’ he said.
‘I want my house, not all my things, I just want my house’, he continued.
Mr Taylor praised his community, saying: ‘And my dear neighbors down there you couldn’t wish for better neighbours.
Homes and livelihoods were destroyed by uncontrollable flames, which spread quickly and easily.
Grandparents looked to each other and their neighbors in the village for support after their loss.
Burnt cars lie in a yard in Wennington, Greater London on July 25, 2022. Burnt vehicles, bikes and more littered the village roads.
‘And we have the pub. That’s a diamond over there,” he said, pointing behind him.
‘And our family,’ said Mrs Taylor, ‘and our family,’ echoed Mr Taylor.
Mrs Taylor said: ‘As long as they’re all alive, that’s the main thing.
‘We all just have to rebuild things’
The couple visited their home with the fire brigade a few days ago but admitted that this visit was much worse than the last.
Two detached houses, two semi-detached houses, two terraced houses, two outbuildings, six single-storey garages, 12 stables and five cars were destroyed in the fire.
The volcano appears to have been ignited by a pile of burning compost in a dry grassland adjacent to Wennington Fire Station at around 1pm – which meant firefighters were on the scene immediately.
Fire crews battled in vain to stop the fire from spreading quickly through dry scrub and burning back gardens. As homes were destroyed, residents said they could hear panicked horses in the surrounding fields.
Charred cars are among the wreckage of a devastating bushfire in Wennington, Essex, which was fueled by record-breaking temperatures on Tuesday.
Around 100 firefighters were called to the blaze in Wennington, Essex alone, which one emergency worker described as ‘absolute hell’. (Image: Row of damaged homes in Wennington after Tuesday’s fire)
More than a dozen families have been left homeless after a fire broke out in the small village of Wennington on the outskirts of east London on Tuesday amid a 40 degree Celsius heat wave in Britain.
Lack of rain and dry grass fields created a recipe for disaster for the village.
Mrs Taylor said that during the first visit ‘you don’t take in too much, I don’t know that you don’t take it in’.
‘And now, today I’m taking it all,’ she cried.
A week after the fire, many families are still homeless as many whose houses were not damaged are refusing to return home due to the changes caused by the fire.
Meteorologists are predicting that prolonged hot weather will mean drought is imminent as hosepipes are likely to be blocked.
Rows of family homes were destroyed and many may struggle to rebuild.
After two days away from their homes, residents who were evacuated were allowed through a police cordon on July 21.
The back gardens, which once housed paddling pools and swings, are now in ruins.
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor plan to rebuild their lives despite the fire.
Home Secretary Priti Patel visited Wennington Fire Station earlier today and saw the devastation in residents’ homes.
Ms Patel tweeted: ‘It was a privilege to visit Wennington Fire Station this morning, where I met our brave firefighters who worked tirelessly to tackle the devastating fires in London this week. .
‘I will continue to work closely with London Fire Brigade Commissioner Andy Rowe and Assistant Commissioner Dominic Ellis to ensure our response to fires is as effective as it can be.’