A FAMILY of five has been left homeless after a devastating house fire in Rodbourne Cheney.
Colin Harris was upstairs with his children and three cats in a Holly Close terraced house when a neighbour alerted him to part of the property being alight.
Buckets of water from the kitchen failed to douse the flames, so he quickly got everyone out of the house.
After being treated at Great Western Hospital for smoke inhalation, the 46-year-old returned to find the charred remains of what had been their family home for around 16 years.
Colin told the Adver: “It’s devastating, we’re just taking things day by day now. Seeing the house was sickening, it made me feel numb, it was absolutely horrible.
“The fire service were there in no time at all. I was in shock and wandered along the street coughing and spluttering then fell to the ground.
“Life has never been easy for us anyway, so this is just another hurdle to clear. There’s no point dwelling on what happened, you have to carry on, or you’d go to pieces.”
Despite this significant setback, Colin continued working as CJs Disco and Karaoke. After missing one Friday booking, he played gigs in Bristol, the Shield and Dagger in Swindon and The Parson's Nose in Melksham as planned and has pledged to not cancel any others.
He added: “I lost my glasses, car keys, iPad and laptop with all my contacts and music, but these things can be replaced. I’m lucky I escaped and glad my family are alright.
“It’s been stressful but I don’t let my customers down, no matter what’s happened, life still goes on. The pubs I played at started collections for us, which we really appreciated.”
His relatives and neighbours have rallied to support the Harrises in their time of need. One of their cats – Ellie – is still missing.
Colin added: “I’m overwhelmed by the support everyone has given. Complete strangers have been so generous, donating money, furniture or clothes, which is lovely, we’re so grateful.”
Kerry Dodman set up a fundraiser. She said: "A family of five have lost everything. They managed to escape, but unfortunately, they are left with nothing, just the clothes they are wearing. If you could help this family at a very difficult time, it would certainly be appreciated."
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/colin-harris-and-family