A pensioner has been left with just ‘the clothes on his back’ after the uninsured home he built with his own hands was burned to the ground – destroying everything he owned and burning three beloved dogs alive.
Grandad Shaun Maguire, from Boston, built his three-bedroom lodge by himself ten years ago after being forced to retire due to a heart attack.
He had spent his entire life savings on the building but was unable to insure it as it was made from wood.
When he returned home on Sunday, he discovered that it had burned down completely. Not only that, but his best friend, his pet Labrador Molly, had also died in the blaze – which had been caused by a faulty fridge freezer.
To make matters worse, his son Jake’s dogs French bulldog Millie, two, and pug-beagle cross Bertie, four, also died in the fire along with Shaun’s pet parrot Red.
Shaun said: “It was my forever home – just for me and the dog.
“I lost everything in the fire, including all my clothes.
“I always dreamt of living in the countryside in a nice log cabin and I thought before I got any older, because my health was going, I’d have to do it then.
“My main concern was getting the dog out. My son and his wife were down for the weekend with their two dogs too.
“We’d nipped to the next village to a steam fair and it was too hot for the dogs, so we left them in there.
“As soon as we saw the fire we rushed in there, tried to get into the property, threw a big rock through the patio window but we couldn’t get in there because of the flames and smoke.
“The firefighters said the smoke would have got to them before anything else and they were found in the sleeping position.
Since the blaze, the local community have rallied round Shaun and donated clothes, bedding and money to help him get back on his feet.
By aiming to raise £20,000 with their JustGiving page, they plan on buying tools and skips to empty the land then rebuild the home.
Shaun said: “It’s amazing what people do in a crisis. It’s so nice of them.
“The community have been absolutely amazing with their support.
“We’ve had a skip company donate skips for the weekend, a bathroom company called to say I can pick whatever I like, companies saying they’ll decorate, rewire, fit with CCTV and alarms when we rebuild.
“People have been out spending their hard earned cash to buy me clothes and bedding.
“Someone has even donated a caravan for me so I can live onsite near my dog.
The dogs had been left inside as it was a warm day. Jake and Shaun were horrified to return to the lodge and discover that the animals were still inside.
Jake desperately tried to run into the house but was pushed back by the ferocious fire.
When the fire was extinguished, firefighters broke the news that all four animals had passed away – with the dogs being found in their beds in a sleeping position.
Jake, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, said: “When we drove back, we saw the smoke in the sky from the next village and thought ‘bloody hell. Someone’s got a fire going again’.
“As we pulled down the road, we saw the fire engines outside the house. We rushed down to find the house well ablaze.
“We’d left the dogs at home and when we got back, there was nothing we could do. We lost all three of them. My dad also had a parrot and unfortunately that didn’t survive.
“When we left, my dad just had the clothes on his back. He lost everything in the fire.
Jake continued: “We’ve set up the fundraiser to pay for the house to be demolished and removed.
“We had a quote for someone to remove it but it was quite a lot, so I said if I get my friends round we can all get in there with saws, wheelbarrows and shovels.
“I’m sure whatever is left we can hire a skip and get it all gone. We’ve got no money to hire skips and tools at the moment.
“On Saturday morning we’ve got friends, family and locals of the community coming together. Many hands make light work.
You can donate to the cause through Facebook Fundraisers by clicking here.