A fundraising appeal has been set up to support a group of performers whose London home was destroyed by a fire.
Performer Chloe Arben, dancer Liam Hargrave and carpenter and music producer Grant Hargrave said almost all of their possessions were destroyed by the accidental fire at their flat near Old Street in London, leaving them with “pretty much nothing but the clothes on [their] backs”.
The group had been out on a bike ride when they returned to find their home on fire, which had been caused by sunlight refracted by a mirror in one of the bedrooms.
Arben told The Stage: “When I arrived at our front door the fire alarm was going off and Liam appeared with black lips and teeth from being inside the apartment.
“We realised it was coming from one of our bedroom windows so we called the emergency services and knocked on all of the neighbours doors to evacuate them. After hearing and feeling an explosion we left the flat to join everyone outside.”
Arben added: “The firefighters warned that in this hot weather, everyone should be mindful of leaving water bottles, mirrors or glass objects near direct sunlight so hopefully this story will help to make others aware and safe.”
About 60 firefighters and eight fire engines attended the fire on May 18. No one was injured in the blaze. However, the flat and most of its contents were destroyed.
Arben said: "After already struggling financially during Covid-19, going back to the flat the next day was absolutely devastating. We realised that we had pretty much nothing but the clothes on our backs and some belongings from downstairs that were untouched by the fire.
"We were convinced that during this time without any stable income, we would not be able to recover from this, but after our wonderful friends set up a GoFundMe page we are now hopeful moving forward and completely overwhelmed with the support that we’ve received so far."
The GoFundMe page set up to help support Arben and the Hargraves to "get back on their feet and get the bare essentials such as a bed, clothes, shoes" has already received nearly £2,000 in donations.