Portsmouth grandfather left 'sofa surfing' after Fratton house blaze destroys 'everything'

A GRANDFATHER has been left sofa surfing after a blaze destroyed ‘absolutely everything’ at his home.

Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 10:05 am

Distraught dad-of-two David Coker, 55, lost precious family photos of his son and daughter and three grandchildren in the Friday, May 21 fire.

Just a day before he had been burgled and was with police walking in an alleyway to his home when he saw firefighters tackling the boiler blaze.

David had only been at the bedsit for five weeks and is now relying on friends’ generosity while homeless.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Fire at a property in Sheffield Road, Fratton where all the belongings of David Coker were destroyed. (220421-7042)

He told The News: ‘I’ve lost everything, absolutely everything has gone. At the minute I’m still not housed, I’m sofa surfing.

‘It’s quite frightening, I could’ve been in the place that night, I would’ve been asleep.’

David had been out at a friend’s home for a DVD night on the Thursday, coming home late to find his room had been ‘ransacked’.

He reported the burglary on Friday morning, and police went with him at around 10pm back to the house.

Fire at a property in Sheffield Road, Fratton where all the belongings of David Coker were destroyed. (220421-7042)

Read More

Read More
Petersgate Infant School lollipop lady retires after 40 years of ‘loyal’ service...

He said: ‘I was gutted, devastated, I thought “that’s everything I’ve got” and I haven’t got a lot of stuff as it is.

‘The fire brigade came out and wouldn’t let me through the gate. I just went a bit frantic and was trying to absorb it for the next day or so.

‘It’s all the stuff my kids have done for me from when they were little and up until today.

‘It’s all the photographs of grandkids - it’s gone. That’s the hardest bit to deal with.

‘The most important thing is I’m still alive - no-one got harmed.’

It took 12 firefighters using hose reels to tackle the 10.20pm blaze, with four crew members using breathing apparatus. It was out by 11.30pm.

Firefighters confirmed the ‘boiler explosion’ as the cause of the fire and contained it to the kitchen - although that is connected to David’s room.

Smoke damage has been caused throughout the rented property, with other residents having to move out. Four people had to evacuate.

Sentimental gifts from his family were destroyed, along with his TV and radio.

A fundraiser has been set up at gofund.me/e223d523

A Hampshire police spokesman said: ‘We were called at 4.46pm on Friday, 21 May to reports of a burglary in a property in Sheffield Road.

‘This is reported to have taken place between 6pm on 20 May and 12pm on 21 May.

‘Entry was gained through the back door of the property and prescription medication and a guitar were reported as stolen.

‘Officers are still investigating what happened.

‘Anyone who has information about this incident can call us on 101, quoting reference 44210197164.

‘At 10.35pm on May 21, we were called to Sheffield Road following reports of a fire within a ground floor flat.

‘We attended to support the fire service and a cordon was put in place.

‘No-one was reported as injured and it is not being treated as suspicious.’