6:00 AM April 2, 2022
A Shotley man says he is “overwhelmed” after his community rallied around him when a fire tore through his home.
On February 14, Andy Miley received a phone call at work from a neighbour, telling him that his home was ablaze.
Mr Miley, 42, said he believes that one of his puppies must have jumped onto his cooker to retrieve some food, knocking one of the knobs and starting the fire.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt, and Mr. Miley’s two dogs were unharmed.
However, his home was left needing extensive repairs, including a new roof and kitchen.
To make matters worse, some confusion between Mr Miley and his ex-wife meant that neither of them had been paying house insurance.
However, his reputation as someone who does what he can to help his community meant that they came together to repay his kindness.
“When it first happened, with no house insurance, I thought, oh my god, what am I going to do?” Mr Miley said.
“When this kind of things happens, you think you’re on your own. I’m quite a proud man, I don’t like to ask for help.
“But sometimes in these situations, you just need to.”
His good friend, Nikita Bones, set up a fundraiser for him, which has reached over £1,800. He has also been inundated with offers of help and support.
“People I don’t even know have been bringing food round, it’s very kind,” said Mr Miley.
“With what’s going on in the world, and people struggling with bills, I just think how kind they are to give me some money and bits and pieces.
Mr Miley says renovations are underway, but this will be a long process, with his kitchen not yet able to be replaced.
“All the roof has been paid for now, so that’s a big weight off my mind.
“I’ve got all the trusses to go up, and a very good friend of mine is going to give me a hand.”
“The fire didn’t go right through the house, which I’m very grateful to the fire brigade for.
“Everyone has clubbed together. Words can’t express it, really.”