Gosport family devastated by fire in their 'perfect' home on the day they move in

A FAMILY with a 10-month-old baby has been left devastated by a fire in their ‘perfect’ new home on the day they were due to move in.

By Richard Lemmer
Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th January 2021, 9:03 am

Chloe Whitehead, who works for a construction brokers, and partner James Carruthers, who works for a telecoms firm, had spent months looking for a bigger home to rent after the birth of their baby boy, Arlo, last March.

The family were due to finish the move from their flat near Priddy’s Hard to an apartment in Rothesay Road, Gosport, on Sunday, when the happy day was marred by disaster.

Chloe said: ‘It just so happened we were getting the last bits to bring to the home, and the kitchen bits were the last bits to grab.

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The couple, along with their 10-month-old baby Arlo, are staying at a family member's house as a support-bubble.

‘We popped them inside, and as we had gone in, we hadn’t realised the hob had been knocked – one of the boxes had knocked it on.

‘Something was slightly touching the hob and it went up in flames.

‘We had gone to pick up our little boy, because my mum was looking after him while we were getting our stuff moved.

‘We were there when I got a message from a neighbour to say our house was on fire.’

Pictured: Arlo Carruthers (10 months old).

The blaze ripped through the family’s new kitchen – with thick black smoke spreading throughout the property, ruining everything from the couple’s clothes to Arlo’s cot and teddy bears.

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The 23-year-old continued: ‘When we found this place, it was perfect.

‘We just wanted somewhere that would be our home while we could save for a mortgage.

Smoke damage has left the family's belongings ruined.

‘In the space of two weeks we had tried to make it really homely. It was our first proper home with our baby.

‘Yesterday, we went into his bedroom and all his teddies were black, his framed birth certificate was so black you couldn’t even see it.

‘I'm still in shock. At first I was really emotional, and I was crying a lot.’

The result of a kitchen fire at the property in Rothesay Road, Gosport.

The couple had planned to choose a contents insurance plan after they had finished the move, and now they face replacing hundreds of pounds of furniture and clothing out of their own pocket.

Chloe added: ‘We have tried washing all our clothes, but the smell is still in them.

‘We only have what we left the house in. Now we’re starting again.’

A fundraiser has been set up by Chloe’s mum, Sue Bedford from Fareham, who is putting up the family as a support-bubble – and already the community has rallied to their aid by donating more than £1,100.

Chloe said: ‘We are quiet proud – we don’t normally ask for help.

‘It was quite a shock when it went over the target.

Chloe Whitehead, 23, her partner James Carruthers, 27, and their son Arlo

‘So we want to say a big thank you.’

Anyone wishing to support the couple can visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/chloe-james-arlos-home-house-fire.

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