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Home Ashford News Article
Mark and Rosemary Horton, their two teenage children - Thomas, 18, and 16-year-old Tianna - and their two dogs have been left homeless after the blaze broke out in the Stanhope property on Monday night.
Mrs Horton and Tianna were the only two in the house when the fire started in the living room of the two-storey Brenchley Close house at around 5.15pm.
Mrs Horton said: "I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when the fire alarm went off. I thought it was my cooking so I waved a tea towel at the smoke alarm. But when I walked into the hallway I saw a glow coming from the living room.
"The settee was alight. I tried to grab the fire blanket but it wouldn't come out so I just shouted for my daughter, grabbed the dogs and we legged it out of the house. My daughter didn't even have shoes on.
"My husband had been out jogging when the fire started and he saw flames coming from the house on his way back. I had tried calling him but he didn't have his phone on him.
"My son Thomas was at work when the fire started, but we called him and he came home. I have never seen him so pale."
Six fire engines, around 40 firefighters, a height vehicle and bulk water carrier were sent to the scene to tackle the fire.
The house was completely gutted and the house next door suffered smoke and roof damage.
Although the family's two springer spaniels made it out of the house unhurt, daughter Tianna's bearded dragon, Marley, was still inside and the family's two cats are still missing.
Mrs Horton, who has lived in the house for around eight years, said: "I am devastated for my daughter.
"She has wanted a bearded dragon for years. We don't know where Molly and George, our two cats, are either. Hopefully they ran away and they are hiding somewhere."
She added: "I am in shock. I think the adrenaline is keeping me going at the moment. It feels very surreal; like it is happening to someone else.
"We didn't have a lot, but what we had we worked hard for."
Since the fire, the family have been staying with Mrs Horton's sister, Valerie Day, in Ashford.
"My sister has been amazing," Mrs Horton said. "I could not have coped without her these last few days. Everyone has been so good.
"Even on Monday night when the fire broke out people were coming up to me and offering me things. People offered to take care of the dogs but I wanted to keep them with me. They were all I had that night."
Since the fire, hundreds of items have been donated to the Horton family and their neighbours, who are believed to be staying in a hotel.
Generous people have been dropping off items to The British Volunteer pub in New Street, Ashford.
Mrs Horton said: "I really feel for the other family and I am so pleased their whole house wasn't taken. Two families have been affected and they need help too.
"We really would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated and offered furniture and clothes. People have been so amazing.
She added: "The John Wallis Academy were brilliant too, they let us use their office for phone and internet access.
"The whole of Ashford has been great. I would like to say thank you to Lee and Sam from The British Volunteer and to everyone from the emergency services. We are so grateful and I don't know how to repay everyone."
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