A father is fighting for his life in hospital unaware that his wife and two children died in a mystery house blaze – as family and friends raise £22,000 for their funerals.
Justine Collison, 33, and her eight-year-old daughter Isabella, nicknamed Izzy, died at the scene as a mystery blaze ripped through their home in Collingham, near Newark, Nottinghamshire. Her son Harvey, aged five, was pulled out alive with her husband Gavin, 34.
Harvey died the next day while RAF engineer Gavin is still fighting for life in hospital. Justine’s mum Diane Fletcher, 53, who lived with the family, escaped physically unscathed.
Justine Collison and her two children Izzy and Harvey all died in the fire which took place 11 days ago
Gavin Collison remains in hospital in a serious condition unaware that his wife and children have died
A police officer stands behind a cordon following the house fire in Nottinghamshire where a mother and two children died
The family’s beloved golden retriever dog also perished in the fire which could have been sparked by a freak Christmas tree accident.
A pal of special needs teaching assistant Justine said: ‘Gavin is still critically ill and hasn’t yet been told that his family has died. Justine’s mum survived without a mark on her but will be emotionally scarred forever.’
The news comes as well wishers raise more than £22,500 to pay for the funerals of a the mum and her two young children killed in the house fire 11 days ago.
Kindhearted relatives, friends, and members of public touched by the tragedy have donated to a special fund as the kids’ dad remains gravely ill in hospital and is believed to be unaware he has lost his family.
Relative Lisa Ball, who set up the crowd funder in light of the ‘this horrible nightmare’ said: ‘We are totally blown away by everyones kindness. Any funds raised will go to her husband and her mum to help pay for the funeral costs and to support the family. Anything that anyone can donate will be much appreciated.’
Harvey, five, was rushed to hospital following the fire but police later confirmed he passed away
The family (pictured, Ms Collison with Izzy, Harvey and Mr Collison) had moved into the four-bedroom house 18 months ago, neighbours said
Isabella, eight, and Harvey, five, died following the devastating fire on their home in Collingham, Nottinghamshire
The children’s mother, Justine Collison, also died in the fire early on Saturday morning
The house remained cordoned off on Sunday afternoon as a joint investigation by Nottinghamshire Police and Fire and Rescue began
Diane Fletcher, the mother of Ms Collison, was successfully evacuated from the property without injury
Donations have been flooding in over Christmas with the £20,000 target smashed within days and now standing at £22,501 with more set to pour in.
In an emotional tribute Lisa from Paignton, Devon, posted: ‘It is with a heavy heart I am setting up this official fundraising page for Justine, Isabella and Harvey who were sadly taken away from us on Saturday 15th December.
‘They sadly lost their lives due to a house fire at their home. To everyone that has sent messages and made donations we cannot thank you enough.
‘As you can imagine we have been preoccupied with current events and supporting our beloved Gavin and Diane.
‘Thank you to each and every one if you for your love support and donations from the bottom of our hearts.
‘The support we have received has been overwhelming and amazing. Our beautiful girl Justine and her babies are so loved.
‘We are heartbroken beyond words and are sending our love to Gavin’s family and Justine’s dad Gerald and his family and everyone else who has been shocked and affected by this horrible nightmare.’
She added: ‘We would also like to say that the community of Collingham have been amazing beyond words.’
Neighbours left floral tributes at the scene on Sunday afternoon as a police cordon remained in place
Friends and family also left stuffed toys and heartfelt notes at the scene of the devastating fire
One note read: ‘To Harvey, I am so proud to call you my buddy partner. I loved reading with you’
Paul Norton and his son Elliot, 20, banged on the door and attempted to enter the property to alert the family
Joanne Gough, who helped set up the page with Lisa and Ray Fletcher, posted: ‘The generosity, compassion and love has been immense. We are all so grateful.’
Locals speculated the blaze could have been sparked by either dry needles from the family’s Christmas tree being ignited by heat from decorative lights or a faulty oil-fuelled radiator which firefighters removed from the flames-ravaged conservatory.
A spokesperson for Nottinghamshire Police said: ‘As yet we have still not established the cause of the fire. Our investigation with Nottingham Fire and Rescue Service is ongoing.
‘There has been complete speculation about the cause but we cannot say at this stage what happened. Nothing has yet been ruled out.’
Devastated pals, who are among 1,050 people supporting the funeral fund, described Justine as a ‘ray of sunshine’ with a ‘pure heart of gold’.
Charley Perry wrote: ‘Completely devastating, an absolute tragedy that has affected so many people.
‘My thoughts and prayers are with all family and friends,I can’t even begin to imagine what they are going through at this unbelievably sad time.’ Liz Poole added: ‘Too tragic for words. So very sad.’
Messages of condolences have also been left in a tribute book at the family’s village church and a local shop has a donations pot on the counter.
The school the siblings attended also paid heartfelt tributes.
Harvey’s pre-school teacher Rachael Walker, 48, said the tragedy will ‘will hit the community really hard’
Ms Collison, a teaching assistant at a special needs school and Mr Collison, an engineer at a nearby RAF base, had been in the process of refurbishing their home
The house (pictured from above) remained cordoned off on Sunday afternoon as an investigation into the cause of the fire continued
Neighbours paid tribute to the ‘lovely’ family as they arrived to lay flowers by the side of the four-bedroom home
Emergency services rushed to Woodhill Road following reports of a blaze at a property at 7am on Saturday
In a moving statement Helen Richardson, headteacher at John Blow Primary School in Collingham, told how ‘kind, caring and friendly ‘ Harvey was ‘very creative, always making models in the craft corner.
Of his elder sister she said: ‘She adored her younger brother Harvey, frequently asking at playtime if she and a friend could go and check if he was settling into school.
‘It has been a privilege to know and share in Izzy and Harvey’s lives, so unexpectedly cut short and they will remain with warm fondness in our hearts forever. ‘
Neighbour Diane Norton said the inferno which has stunned the close-knit community was ‘heartbreaking’ and ‘so desperately sad just before Christmas.’
Her husband Paul and son Elliot had frantically been banging on the front door to try and alert the sleeping family after seeing their conservatory engulfed in flames at around 7am.
She said the pair had seen a ‘traumatised’ woman walking out of the blazing house ‘in a complete daze but without a scratch.
She added: ‘It is an absolute tragedy and has shocked everyone living in the area. Our hearts go out to the poor gran. I can’t imagine anything worse then her losing her daughter and grandchild in this awful way.’
Anyone wishing to make a donation to the family’s fund click