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Family made homeless following blaze at Barkingside Subway

PUBLISHED: 14:32 16 September 2015 | UPDATED: 14:33 16 September 2015

From left to right, daughter Mary Villanueva, 14, Charmi Villanueva, 34, and Jonathan Barco, 34, during happier times

From left to right, daughter Mary Villanueva, 14, Charmi Villanueva, 34, and Jonathan Barco, 34, during happier times

Archant

A devastated family has been left homeless after flames engulfed the takeaway below their flat on Friday.

Firefighters tackling the blaze at Subway, in Barkingside High Street. Photo: Maxine GlanvilleFirefighters tackling the blaze at Subway, in Barkingside High Street. Photo: Maxine Glanville

Jonathan Barco, 34, rushed home from work after he received a call from his distraught wife Charmi Villanueva, 34, as she and their two children made a lucky escape from their rented maisonette after smelling the Subway restaurant burning below.

“It’s been a harrowing few days for us,” said Jonathan, who lived above the takeaway in High Street, Barkingside.

“It’s the stuff you work hard for that’s being destroyed – it’s your hard work going up in flames. I know it’s not about your material possessions but it’s a symbol of your hard work.

“We have to start from again zero.”

Subway, High Street, Barkingside. Picture: London Fire BrigadeSubway, High Street, Barkingside. Picture: London Fire Brigade

Jonathan said the fire, which happened in the same week as his wife’s birthday, has left her “traumatised”.

“She’s still very shaken up and she can’t sleep – it’s very disheartening,” he said after the blaze, which brought the high street to a standstill.

The family, which is living in emergency accommodation provided by their landlord, only managed to salvage a few items of clothing, which they are having constantly wash and re-wear.

“All of our appliances are ruined – we’re scared to plug anything in,” said Jonathan. “It was substantial damage, everything on our bottom floor was totally ruined.

Firefighters attending a fire at Subway, High Street, Barkingside. Picture: Ajay NairFirefighters attending a fire at Subway, High Street, Barkingside. Picture: Ajay Nair

“We took what we could from the flat but all of our clothes are ruined and everything stinks to high heaven.”

He added: “Our families have been really supportive.”

The cause of the fire remains under investigation but is thought to be accidental.


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