Caroline Barry

The Fire

I had only just gone out, when I received a phone call to say the house was alight. There was five fire engines but nothing could be done to save the house, they had to be careful to damp down the nearby stables and barns. It was a complete disaster, my house and all my possessions gone. Why?

After the fire began the investigation - We had fire investigators and sniffer dogs. They confirmed there had been an accelerant used, and the fire was started in the house probably on the bed. The joy of having a fire there is no evidence to indicate any culprit. So who took it upon themselves to open the house, (the key was in the door as usual) let the dogs out, and start a fire, knowing the damage they would cause not only to the house but to all my personal possessions.

Strange thing is, someone was watching the house (the hackles went up on the back of my neck for about 2/3 weeks before) they knew I was home most evenings. This particular night my son wasn't well with flu so I went into Street (about 5 miles away) to see him, so my car with me in it had left. It was safe to approach the house. But my son's mates did weight training in the barn in the paddock 3 nights a week, and this was one. So in the yard were 3 vehicles for the lads training - but they are in the barn with music on and they cannot see the house. Whoever set the fire knew this. They must have come across the field next door on foot. Also the key was missing from the house door lock, we found the lock in the debris, but no key.

This fire was reported by BBC and ITV, and in all the local papers. I have a DVD from BBC with all the reports, excellent footage. When BT revamped the phone line, I had several phone calls from friends offering help, unfortunately all their phone numbers were in the book in the house!!! So I ended up phoning people to phone people to phone people...

The interesting thing was what was left. Only one half wall was upstanding, that was a strawbale wall, the frame and windows were burnt, but the straw remained. If you think straw burns easily imagine trying to burn a telephone directory, it's impossible. In fact we even took out whole strawbales (complete with strings) when we dismantled.The logs in the cordwood wall were only charred for the first 2/3 inches, these logs are not split and fueling my woodburner fire now!

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© Caroline Barry 2012