A DEVASTATING blaze in which a couple lost the home they built themselves and most of their possessions is being treated as “suspicious”.
Owners George Coate and Joanna Correya, who were away, were alerted by a neighbour at about 4.30am and returned to see their £60,000 Blackdown Hills log cabin reduced to ashes.
Their two pet dogs died in Monday’s incident at Feltham, near Corfe, and several other animals they own were terrified by the flames.
George and Joanna, who run Adcombe Park Alpacas and breed Angus Aberdeen cattle and South African goats, are trying to pick up the pieces but say they were uninsured.
“Our home’s been burned to the ground and we’re left with just the clothes we’re standing in,” said George, who completed the building 18 months ago.
“We’re absolutely devastated. We’ve irreplaceable lost lifelong possessions like Joanna’s jewellery from landmark birthdays and architects designs for a farmhouse we planned to build on site next year.
“We’ve also lost garments made from the alpacas’ wool and honey from our 50 beehives.
“The animals were quite distressed, but apart from the dogs, they survived.
“It’s all gone up in smoke. It’s soul destroying.”
George and Joanna, both 30, were staying the night with his mother near Wellington as they were worried the St Jude storm could bring down 100ft trees beside the cabin.
“With hindsight, we’re grateful we weren’t there as we’d have been asleep and mightn’t have been able to get out,” said George.
“The wind was really strong and so the fire took hold quicker than it would have normally.
“There were four fire engines there, but the firefighters had to stand back for their own safety as there were some gas canisters.”
The couple were put up for free on Monday night in a Taunton hotel and family and friends have rallied round with donations of food, refreshments and clothes, while they have also been loaned a mobile home.
George added: “We’ve lost our home. There’s nothing left, but we’re so grateful to everyone who’s been so kind.”
Sgt Huw Jenkins said: “CSI attended the scene and carried out a forensic examination.
“The matter is being treated as suspicious until proven otherwise.”
Anyone with any information should call Taunton Police on 101.