Outpouring of support for family who lost everything in explosion

The husband and wife seriously injured when their Halifax home exploded remain in hospital as friends, neighbours and strangers rally to their aid.

Liam McLaughlin, 63, his wife Gwen, 63, were both badly injured and Gwen suffered ‘severe burns’ in the explosion that destroyed their house in Green Lane, Illingworth, on Saturday morning.

Their son Jack and his girlfriend were also in the house at the time and escaped with their lives.

Neighbours said Liam and Jack “leaped through the flames” from their staircase and Jack was heard shouting “where’s mum?” before Gwen emerged from the burning house.

Six days later, Liam and Gwen continue to receive treatment in hospital and an investigation to what caused the explosion is ongoing.

The local community has rallied around the family though. Mel Adams, who is friends with the couple’s daughter Gemma, set up an online fundraiser and raffle to help the McLaughlins get back on their feet after “losing everything”.

She has been stunned by the number of donations, totalling more than £1,600, and raffle prizes offered by local businesses and individuals.

“The community been absolutely amazing,” she said. “I think when I first started it I had about ten or twelve businesses replying to me saying that they’d donate prizes for the raffle but then daily I’m still getting them so I keep adding prizes on to it.”

39 raffle prizes have been donated to the competition so far, including chocolate hampers, beauty vouchers and a £200 MOT and service at a local garage.

Huge fire after house explodes in Green Lane, Illingworth
(Image: Candice Nevison)

For a ticket, people must send proof of a donation to the GoFundMe page, worth at least £5, to Mel Adams on Facebook.

Mel, 32, said the overwhelming devastation of what has happened has moved so many people to do what they can for a ‘well known’ and ‘well loved’ family.

“I just think it’s heart-wrenching as well and people want to help,” said Mel.

“You’ve lost your family home just before Christmas and I think that’s what makes it more upsetting. Any time would be bad but just before Christmas, they’d have had family Christmas presents in there.

“Because the whole home has been destroyed they’ve just got nothing. Even silly stuff like a hairbrush or soap, everything is gone.

The explosion happened at about 7.30am on Saturday and was heard three miles away
Emergency services were called to the scene to deal with the explosion

“It’s going to be so hard for them to build that back up so I think everyone just wants to help.”

Another fundraiser, set up by Andrew Sykes at Halifax-based charity Noah’s Ark Centre, has raised “well over £6,000” so far and is “fast approaching £7,000”.

If you would like to donate to the Noah’s Ark Centre, email andrew@noahsarkcentre.org.uk.

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YorkshireLive – Halifax