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Community pulls together for man who lost everything in a fire in Commercial Road, Paddock Wood

By William Janes

A community has raised more than £1,000 in just one day for a man who lost everything in a house fire.

Firefighters rushed to Commercial Road in Paddock Wood around 8.30am on Friday after a fire erupted in flats just metres from a petrol station.

Thick black smoke and flames burst from the front windows of the property as the fire raged.

Fortunately no-on was hurt but the blaze has had a lasting impact on Kyle Barham, an occupant of one the four flats and owner of KHB Hair Studio next door, whose home was destroyed.

Carly Austin, who has set up a fundraising page, said: "For Kyle to go to work he has to see his home where he lost everything- making it a constant reminder.

"The Paddock wood community has already shown what strength people have and I’m really hoping that we can all give a little - just to relieve some stress for him and his family."

Mr Barham has given thanks in an emotional message on the page.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze but Kyle Barham had lost everything
Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze but Kyle Barham had lost everything

"I am just so overwhelmed with everyone's support and generosity," he said. "I never thought in a million years anything like this could happen to me, yet as I watched in total disbelief, how wrong can one be. I can not thank you all enough.

"I now have some of my own clothes to wear and can give the borrowed clothes back. Once again everyone, the biggest thank you."

Bystanders looked on in horror as the building was devoured by the flames. The one comfort for many was seeing two dogs carried from the burning structure by brave locals and taken to safety unharmed.

Flats in Paddock Wood were ravaged by flames Picture: Jordan Excell
Flats in Paddock Wood were ravaged by flames Picture: Jordan Excell

Video: the shocking moments as flames ripped through the flats.

Sonja Wright was driving past after dropping her son off at school and saw the whole thing.

"I could see some smoke coming out of the place but couldn't see any flames to begin with," said the 39-year-old. "I turned into the petrol station and not five minutes later flames were coming out the front door.

"Some of the windows in the house next door were popping. I had to move my car because as I was standing there I could feel the heat coming off the house.

The fire erupted just metres from a petrol station
The fire erupted just metres from a petrol station

"We could hearing barking and a man and a local police officer who I think was off duty went over to the house and kicked the door down. They went in a brought out the dogs.

"I thought it was such a selfless thing to do."

If you would like to help Mr Burham, visit the GoFundMe page here.

Read more: All the latest news from Weald

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