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Family forced to Christmas in hotel after fire wrecks home

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A family is spending Christmas in a hotel after their house and presents went up in flames. Nicole Finlay, who lives on the Pennyburn estate in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, and daughters Macie, five, and Rylee, one, were horrified to see fire through their kitchen window as they returned home from watching the town’s annual Christmas lights switch-on.

Nicole, 22, dashed into the house, rescuing the family’s pet bulldog Holly, who was trapped inside.

The young mum told the Daily Record: “The fire began from the cooker and spread to the boiler which blew up.

“I was in a state of shock and had a panic attack when I got home that night.”

A friend took hold of the girls as Nicole dashed into her burning home to grab Holly.

Nicole explained how the family lost clothes, shoes, bedding and most of the children’s toys to the flames.

Firefighters did manage to retrieve a blanket of Macie’s, which Nicole said has since been a comfort to her daughter.

She told the Daily Record: “Most of the kids’ Christmas toys are gone now too and I lost a ring containing my brother’s ashes and my other brother’s hair.

“I still don’t know how to feel about it. Some nights I could cry thinking about what we’ve lost but I need to stay strong for the kids and put on a brave face for them.

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“I’m just so thankful we were out of the house when it happened and we’re all safe.”

Nicole estimates her total losses amount to about £1,000.

Social housing provider Riverside Scotland has not confirmed how long the family will have to stay in a hotel, but Nicole believes it will be at least until Boxing Day.

Members of the local community have rallied to the family’s aid by setting up an online fundraiser to bring some Christmas cheer for Nicole, Macie and Rylee.

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Nicole said: “I can’t thank everyone enough for donating. It’s such a hard time for everyone just now and everyone is struggling.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who is giving what they can to help my family.

“I’ve lived in Pennyburn all of my life and I’ve never been more proud to be part of this community.”

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 7.34pm on Thursday, November 24 to reports of a house on fire.

“Operations Control mobilised three fire appliances and firefighters extinguished a fire affecting a kitchen on a ground floor of a property.

“There were no reported casualties and crews left after ensuring the area was made safe.”

Visit here to donate to the online fundraiser.

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