We lost our home in the Malaga Fires!

Sue and Peter Doran, with their daughter Justine, moved to Spain 9 years ago for a quieter life.  They wanted to share more time together as a family.  However, 6 weeks before the move from Lincolnshire, Pete had a heart attack and had to have stents put in.  That sealed the families plans as “We figured the climate in spain would be the better option for his long term health”.

Sue said, “we moved to Spain to live a quieter life.  Pete, my husband is a builder and we planned to build our house in the campo in the “the real Spain”.   Justine our daughter, who is now 17, went to Spanish School and in no time was fluent in Spanish. The plan was to live a simple life. We had no mortgage or bills and lived a good life.  It sounds corny but we had an ideal life. Pete’s health is now monitored and he is well”

Sadly on 31st August their life changed rather dramatically, Sue shares what happened:-

“I had just finished work in El Chaparral.  We picked up our Neighbours and stopped for a drink on the way home. After about hour our neighbour rang and said I better get home; there is a fire raging near us. We rushed back. We got the three dogs into Pete’s van and three passports, a few photos and tablets, plus some bits into a case. Luckily our daughter was living with a friend in Fuengirola so she didn’t have to suffer the ordeal.  From the neighbour phoning to our evacuation from the house was 30 minutes. 

The next morning when we went back to the house. We had stopped at a friends in Riviera and to be honest thought our house would be ok as it was at the top of the hill.”  Sadly for the Dorans their home was raised to the ground.

“Since the fire, we have had no help from the Town Hall or Mijas Council or social services.  No financial help and nothing from the proceeds of the Fire Aid Concert.  We were able to get clothes etc from SOS Andalucia.  Then Costa Women organised a sponsored event to buy tool vouchers for Pete.”

The Dorans are currently staying in a rented apartment on Mijas Golf.  Sue said “we have to take each day as it comes; think positive and wait for the Town Hall, hopefully to issue an emergency repair permit. We may receive compensation from the Government, but we won’t know till February”

With the tools which the Costa Women have donated Pete has been able to moved all the rubble from the top floor of their home and tightened up the building.  However he can’t proceed with building until the Council give the go ahead. He is planning to move the rubble and move some of the surrounding land.

Pete is semi retirement as he is not up to full time work or do too heavy work.  However Sue shared that he has a labourer so that’s not really a problem. Peter is a bricklayer by trade but can do anything in the building game.  Sue is a the full time worker especially in summer.  She previously worked for the local Government in Totnes, Devon, but now looks after an elderly lady 10hrs a week and cleans holiday apartments “A total change from my Job as payroll officer before but I like the change!”. Their daughter, Justine, has had to return to the UK to live with family.  

Whilst hopeful that this shouldn’t happen again, Sue said, “The wind that night made the fire spread so quickly.  We were the lucky ones. One thing that would help us is for the Spanish to realise that fires cannot be allowed to be started, however small, during summer.  They need to be educated.  They have always burnt their rubbish in summer-sod the rules.  That does make me bitter.  Two weeks after the Fire a neighbour to us was burning rubbish – I thought this was extremely inconsiderate to our situation”

Asked about their future, Sue said “We will be fine.  It is hard but all we can do is be grateful we are all well. We can replace most things – its the photo albums, baby photos etc that cannot be replaced. What I have learned is and I don’t want to sound bitter is that when things like this happen you find out who you can rely on and it is not always the ones you would expect. Some strangers have given us immense support”.

Thank you Sue for sharing your story.

If you, or any friends, have any tools which can be donated to help the Dorans, or the other people who have been affected by the fires, please contact SOS Andalucia who are running a Tools Appeal