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‘Tea light candle’ horror flat explosion leaves young Scottish family homeless

The family of four must stay with various relatives because the blast on December 2 in the early morning severely damaged their Galashiels home.

The home of a young Scottish family was destroyed in a terrifying explosion caused by a tealight candle, forcing them to live apart. Following the huge blast that shook their Galashiels apartment, Colin Hay, 36, Nicola Jeffrey, 33, and their two daughters Aila, 4, and Melanie, 3, are now residing with separate relatives.

Around 3 am on December 2, emergency personnel sped to the scene before ordering a complete evacuation of the apartment complex due to concerns about the integrity of the structure. While the young family’s apartment has sustained significant damage as a result of the windows being blown out by the force of the explosion, the other occupants were permitted to return in about six hours later.

Aaron Mason, a generous neighbour, has started a campaign to assist the family and their kids, who want to move into temporary housing on Christmas Eve. The 28-year-old, who owns the Bulldog Bakes cafe, said: “It’s one of those things that you read in the newspaper and say ‘oh God imagine that but it’s fine because it’ll never happen’ until it does.

“We woke up to a bang on the door from the police just after 3am. They were evacuating the building and we all needed to get out. We threw on some clothes and grabbed the keys for the cafe because we thought if we were going to be out for a while, it was somewhere warm where we could get coffee.

“We were outside in the car park for probably about an hour. We were then moved to another car park further away because at this point, they still weren’t sure of the safety of the building and the gas risk. We took everyone down to the Bakehouse to keep people warm and give them a bite to eat.

“We were there until about 8.30am when we got the all clear that we were all safe to go back to our flats but obviously Nicola and Colin weren’t. Their whole living room is just gone. The walls are going to need to come down and be rebuilt.

“They’re going to need news windows because the living room and kitchen ones were blown out. There’s a lot of damage.”

An investigation into the cause of the blast remains ongoing, however it is believed to have been caused by a tealight which ignited a nearby aerosol can. Police Scotland have previously confirmed that no criminality was involved.

Aaron explained: “There was a tealight that wasn’t blown out before going to bed, which we’ve all done. Something has happened which caused a fire to catch. Nicola and Colin still don’t know exactly how that happened and what caused it to spread.

“One thing has led to another and an aerosol can that was near the tealight, the fire spread to that and it was that that caused the actual explosion itself. Nicola and Colin are staying with their parents and the kids are staying with Nicola’s sister.

“There’s obviously four of them so not many family homes would have spare accommodation for them all. A letting agent has managed to sort them a temporary house to move into on Christmas Eve.

“But in the meantime, we’re trying to get them an AirBnb so they can all be together and have some sense of normality. The response has been so refreshing to see the community come together to support them.

“Everyone is feeling the cost-of-living crisis and everything else that’s going on but it’s just so heartwarming to see that people are still willing to help and support the family.”

To donate to their GoFundMe, please click here.

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