Community rallies after young family’s Christmas is destroyed in fire

Julie Muir and her three year old son Rhys pictured in her mother's sitting room, which has been taken over with'toys and clothes donated by wellwishers after the fire at the family home destroyed their possessions including'Christmas presents. Picture: Moira Kerr.
Julie Muir and her three year old son Rhys pictured in her mother's sitting room, which has been taken over with'toys and clothes donated by wellwishers after the fire at the family home destroyed their possessions including'Christmas presents. Picture: Moira Kerr.
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A young family’s Christmas went up in smoke when fire ripped through their house destroying most of their possessions and all their presents.

However, Iain and Julie Muir have been left overwhelmed by the kindness of the community in their home town of Oban.

he Muir family's home at Dunollie, Oban, which was hit by a fire after toaster set alight. Pictur: Moira Kerr.

he Muir family's home at Dunollie, Oban, which was hit by a fire after toaster set alight. Pictur: Moira Kerr.

The couple were stunned by people’s generosity after a fundraising page, set up by family friend Peter MacMillan on Facebook with a £5,000 goal, raised over £11,000 in two days to help them. Donations of toys and Christmas presents for the couple’s three year old son, Rhys, have also flooded in to Mrs Muir’s mother’s house in Oban, where the family are staying until their home is made habitable again.

Mr and Mrs Muir had saved up and bought their home in Dunollie, Oban, and moved in last year, using cash gifts from their 2016 wedding to help furnish and equip it.

Now most of their new possessions and all their Christmas presents, have gone up in smoke after a toaster caught fire and set the house alight.

Mrs Muir, 28, said she did not know how the toaster came to be on and added: “Iain was at work and I was making dinner, I had been stir frying.

“I went through to check on Rhys and came back and the toaster was on and there were flames coming up.” There was a Celebrations tub on top of the toaster and all the chocolate was melting, I just thought, my God.”

She added: “I was getting water and trying to get Rhys out and then I thought, I can’t do this, and went and banged on my neighbour’s door and said, help me.

“I phoned 999 and 101 but my phone didn’t work. My neighbour was a life-saver, she phoned the fire brigade and they came in minutes.”

She added: “The house is gutted apart from Rhys’s room, because the door was closed, but his clothes and the bed are humming with the smoke damage. Everything is gone, except our wedding photos. I asked the fire brigade, can you get my wedding photos, which were in a red bag in the sitting room and a firefighter got them for me.”

She said her 38-year-old husband had started the year in January by looking for a job, after being made redundant last December. In May, Mrs Muir was told she would be made redundant in October. May saw another driver crash into her car and in September Rhys was rushed to hospital when he suffered severe gastroenteritis on holiday in Turkey and was ill for the whole ten-day break.

Mrs Muir said: “Now there’s the fire in December, it’s been a year from hell, I can’t wait for 31 December.”

Mrs Muir’s father’s first cousin, Iain McLean, the steward of Machrihanish Golf Club, saw his home destroyed by fire along with the clubhouse building on Wednesday. The couple had been talking about how they would cope if that ever happened to them.

Next day, after their own home caught fire, Mr and Mrs Muir, who now both work in Wetherspoons, Oban, said people’s kindness had helped them get through the trauma.