Family who fled Kiveton Park fire face struggle to secure temporary home

Video report by Amelia Beckett


A family left homeless by a huge fire on the UK's hottest ever day say they are struggling to secure new accommodation because the blaze destroyed most of their personal documents.

Paul and Lindsey Hughes lost virtually everything when a field fire spread to their property in Kiveton Park, near Rotherham, on 19 July. It was one of several wildfires that caused widespread devastation in South Yorkshire as temperatures hit 40C.

The self-employed couple, along with their children Nathaniel, six, and Benjamin, two, have been relying on friends and family for accommodation since.

And they say they are struggling to find somewhere to rent because the documents estate agents require to prove their identity were lost in the fire.

Mr Hughes said: "It's almost impossible to find a property – there's such a lack of housing – and the process then to get into a house is really difficult."

The charred remains of properties at Kiveton Park. Credit: ITV News

Mrs Hughes added: "At a time when you are dealing with [the loss], the last thing you want is to be dealing with a lot of unnecessary red tape that is avoidable."

The couple were at home when the fire took hold, as wind fanned the flames and spread them to theirs and two neighbouring properties.

Mr Hughes said: "The heat was so intense and you could hear it roaring and at that point we had to leave and stand back and watch the house burn."

Among the possessions they lost were irreplaceable photographs and baby scan pictures.

"They've all gone and you can't get those things back," Mr Hughes said.

Houses on Woodland Drive in Barnsley were destroyed. Credit: ITV News

Theirs was one of around ten properties destroyed in the fires in South Yorkshire as emergency services declared a major incident. Others were lost in Barnsley and Maltby.

With the country in the grip of a new heatwave and a Met Office amber warning for extreme heat in force, a fire break has now been built in the field adjoining the properties in Kiveton Park and the Hughes' house will be rebuilt.