Grieving widow’s double tragedy as home burns down in heatwave blaze while she’s at late husband’s funeral
- Julie Lane, 55, was attending funeral of her husband Chris when the fire started
- Firefighters battled the blaze at the property in Woodley, Berkshire, for six hours
- The fire took place on Tuesday, as UK sweltered in record-breaking 40.3C heat
- Family members are raising money for Ms Lane, and have collected £10,000
A grieving widow suffered a heart-rending double tragedy after her house burnt down while she was attending her late husband’s funeral.
Julie Lane was at the service paying her respects to late spouse Chris, 64, when their semi-detached home in Woodley, Berkshire, was gutted.
The terrible tragedy took place on Tuesday, as Britain sweltered in a 40.3C (104.5F) heatwave and firefighters tackled a number of wildfires in ‘tinderbox’ conditions.
Firefighters battled the fire at Mrs Lane’s home for six hours as they attempted to her and her neighbour’s homes.
But her property suffered serious damage in the fire. And now the 55-year-old widow says she has lost everything.
Speaking about the moment she was alerted to the blaze, she said: ‘We were at the funeral and we saw the smoke in the sky.
‘Someone said it was coming from the direction of my house.
‘I’ve had an emotional few day. It is the worst you can imagine, but then double it.’
Julie Lane (pictured here with her late husband Chris) was at the service paying her respects to late spouse Chris, 64, when their semi-detached home in Woodley, Berkshire, was gutted
Firefighters battled the fire at Mrs Lane’s home for six hours as they attempted to her and her neighbour’s homes (pictured)
Julie and relatives were at Chris’ funeral just two miles away at Reading Cemetery Crematorium when it took hold on Tuesday afternoon.
Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews from Caverhsam, Wokingham, Ascot, Crowthorne, Whitley Wood and Theale tackled the fire for more than six hours.
The neighbouring house was also damaged by the fire. The cause of the fire is being investigated.
Despite the tragic double loss, Mrs Lane attempted to keep her spirits up, saying: ‘Still in my heart I think there are people worse off than me.
‘I have a loving family around me.’
Her son Alex Honor-Lane and his partner Megan Warren have now set up a GoFundMe fundraising page for her.
The pair had hoped to raise £250. But by midday on Thursday it had almost £10,000 in donations.
Mr Honor-Lane said: ‘Please if anyone can help my poor mum and wonderful neighbours at this time it would be much appreciated.
‘There are no words, just an unbelievable day.’
Her son Alex Honor-Lane and his partner Megan Warren (pictured) have now set up a fundraising page for her
The pair had hoped to raise £250. But by midday on Thursday it had almost £10,000 in donations (pictured)
Megan, who set up the GoFundMe, said: ‘As many of you are aware there was a horrendous fire in Woodley.
‘This sadly was my mother-in-law’s house. The day of her husband’s funeral, she has lost everything she owns in a ferocious fire.
‘The houses are all beyond repair and looks like very little will be recovered.
‘Thankfully nobody was hurt but now Julie and her wonderful neighbours who have two young children have to re-build their entire lives.
‘So please anything you can donate to help the two families would be so unbelievably generous and we cannot thank everyone enough for their support so far.’
A spokesperson for Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) told MailOnline: ‘At 2:21pm on Tuesday, 19 July, we received reports of a fire in Woodley.
‘Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service crews from Caversham Road, Wokingham Road, Ascot, Crowthorne, Whitley Wood and Theale fire stations were sent to the scene alongside four RBFRS Officers and an Aerial Ladder Platform.
‘They were also supported by crews from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.
‘Upon arrival, crews found a domestic fire involving two properties. Two people were evacuated from the buildings and placed into the care of South Central Ambulance Service.
‘Crews worked to extinguish the fire using six hose reel jets. Crews were on the scene for approximately six hours and 10 minutes, before returning twice in the night and once in the morning to inspect the scene for hotspots and ensure it is safe.’
The blaze happened on the same day that firefighters across the UK battled wildfires in a record-breaking 40.3C heatwave.
As many as 19 homes in the east London village of Wennington were gutted by the fire, with some families later revealing how they ‘lost everything’ in the blaze.
The Wennington fire was the most destructive of a number of major incidents on Tuesday, which saw as many as 63 properties destroyed across the UK, including 14 in nearby Dagenham.
Outside of London, six houses were devastated by wildfire in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.
Another eight properties were destroyed in Maltby, Rotherham, and three in nearby Kiveton Park, as well as three in Clayton, West Yorkshire.
Drone footage also shows firefighters battling back against a wildfire as it advanced on properties in Brancaster Staithe near Watton in Norfolk. At least five homes are thought to have been destroyed.
Where were properties destroyed by Tuesday’s wildfires?
• Wennington (East London) – 19
• Dagenham (East London) – 14
• Chadwell Heath (East London) – 1
• Kenton (North West London) – 2
• Brancaster Staithe (Norfolk) – 5
• Ashmanhaugh (Norfolk) – 2
• Kiveton Park (South Yorkshire) – 3
• Barnsley (South Yorkshire) – 6
• Maltby (South Yorkshire) – 8
• Clayton (South Yorkshire) – 3
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