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Generosity of public hailed as nearly £15k raised in a day for Matchett family who lost Co Down home in blaze

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The gutted remains of Lauren and Daniel Matchett’s house in Kircubbin, Co Down

The gutted remains of Lauren and Daniel Matchett’s house in Kircubbin, Co Down

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

The gutted remains of Lauren and Daniel Matchett’s house in Kircubbin, Co Down

Almost £15,000 has been raised for a Co Down family after their home was destroyed in a house fire in the early hours of Monday.

Lauren Matchett (22) and her brother Daniel (20) lost everything after an extension lead caught fire in an upstairs bedroom of their Kircubbin house.

A fundraising page was set up by their friend Anna Coyle on Monday night and was close to reaching its £15,000 target in less than 24 hours.

Speaking yesterday Lauren, who ran a beauticians from her home, said that they are "absolutely devastated" but she was just happy that she, her brother and his girlfriend Roisin McCabe (22), who was also in the house at the time of the blaze, were all safe.

"We went to bed but I took our dog out the back to run about," explained an emotional Lauren.

"I was in the back garden and just happened to turn round and I saw smoke coming out of the bathroom window.

"I ran back inside to see what had happened.

"My brother was already out of bed and I ran into my room.

"I have a wooden dresser that I keep an extension lead on, but the blanket underneath had caught fire.

"Daniel had grabbed the blanket and threw it out the window but the extension lead wire had caught fire.

"The wooden dresser was up in a matter of seconds. All three of us just ran out of the house as everything was just going up in flames and we rang 999."

Lauren ran back inside to save their pet dog but couldn't find their cat.

Thankfully, when the Fire Service arrived the cat was located and brought to safety.

"The roof had obviously caught fire too and the boiler had exploded in the attic and it came down through the house," added Lauren. "The house is just completely and utterly ruined."

Heartbreakingly, Lauren and Daniel's mother Claire passed away seven years ago and her belongings were also lost in the blaze.

The siblings are currently separated as Lauren is staying with their aunt in Newtownards, while Daniel is living in Newcastle with his girlfriend. However, with the coronavirus pandemic putting Northern Ireland in lockdown, the pair are struggling to plan ahead.

"We're split up because of it and we just can't do anything until this lockdown is over, which is absolutely heartbreaking," Lauren said.

"I still need to wrap my head around the whole thing before even thinking about moving on," she added.

"Me and Daniel moving to different houses is the best thing to do right now as we're both being looked after and we're both safe."

Praising the community and further afield for the generous donations, Lauren thanked everyone who has got in touch and donated clothes, money and everyday items.

"I just can't get over the kindness and the love being sent our way and how the community has come together so quickly," she added.

If you would like to donate to Lauren and Daniel's fundraiser you can do so through Facebook.

Belfast Telegraph