A Christmas horror story: Single father of four left with nothing before Christmas after house fire leaves youngest son injured in hospital
Written by Hugh Hutton on 21st December 2023
House fire leaves single Father of four with nothing just days before Christmas, whilst his youngest son still lays tragically ill in hospital.
Paul Beattie, from Forth Close in Peterlee, was working his regular night shift at Asda when his home was deliberately set on fire in the early hours of the morning whilst two of his four children were still inside the property asleep in bed.
Aged just 21-years-old and 10-years-old, the pair had to jump from their bedroom window to escape the flames.
However, the youngest son Blaine suffered 40% burns to the body and was left in a coma in hospital.
Police have recently arrested a man in his mid-20s on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life but was shortly released on bail for the offence.
The family have lost everything from the blaze. Their home, family photographs, personal belongings and all Christmas presents have been completely destroyed.
Paula Townley, a work colleague of Paul, described seeing Mr Beattie the moment he was made aware that his house was up in flames whilst two of his children lay asleep in their beds:
“I saw Paul run towards the doors at work, and I’ll never forget the look on his face – he was as white as a ghost and the panic on his face is something I just can’t get out of my head.
“I said to him I’d rush him to his house but then three police officers turned up in a matter of seconds and took him themselves to his house.”
Miss Townley went on further to describe how Mr Beattie hasn’t fully come to terms with tragedy:
“He’s absolutely devastated at the moment; I don’t think it has fully hit him what has actually happened.
“I think in a way he’s blanked the situation out; all he can think about is his kid’s Christmas presents.
“He keeps telling me about replacing them, buying the oldest son the TV he had originally bought for him and the youngest son some Xbox games – but I’ve told him they don’t even have an Xbox to play them on now with everything being destroyed.
“I think with everything going on with the house, his son, having to pay for hotels up in Newcastle and taking the bus every day to go to the hospital to see him, it’s so much to take on.”
To try and help rebuild the families lives after the tragedy, Miss Townley set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds and awareness of what happened to the family:
“It’s awful to see what’s happened to Paul and his family, he’s just a single Dad trying to provide for his family – I wanted to try and help them as much as I possibly could.
“So, with the help of my son Kieran, we set up a GoFundMe page. My thoughts were even a few hundred pounds would help him in some way, I never thought it would
get the attention that it’s getting now.
“We’ve raised over six thousand pounds now and Paul truly can’t believe the support he’s getting and that people are donating.”
The GoFundMe page caught the attention of social media influencer and ex-Geordie Shore star Charlotte Crosby, who donated a significant amount of money to the campaign:
“Charlotte Crosby donated a large sum of money to the GoFundMe page, we couldn’t believe someone with such a big status like her even saw our post, never mind donated to it!”
Miss Townley continued further by explaining that the campaign has a long way to go and is seeking further donations from the public:
“Although we’ve had some generous donations, especially at this time of year, we need more support.
“It’s vital that we get as much money raised as possible to help Paul and his family get back on their feet.
“Even the smallest donation goes a long way.”
You can donate to Paul’s GoFundMe campaign by following the link below, or by contacting Mary Cartwright on 0777 6465 222 you can donate gifts.
Link to GoFundMe page: