A FUNDRAISER has been set up to help a family whose home has been destroyed in a fire just weeks before Christmas.

Several crews were deployed to tackle the fire at two connecting homes in Harrow Farm Cottages, Ragged Appleshaw, on Saturday, December 2.

The fire started at around 3.30am and resulted in the roof of the cottages and first floor being destroyed.

One of the cottages was occupied by members of the Burgess family including husband and wife Rich and Katie, both 31, and their three children 12-year-old Jake, Riley, 14 and Harper, aged five (pictured below).

READ MORE: Man taken to hospital following fire in Ragged Appleshaw

Andover Advertiser: he fire happened at Harrow Farm Cottages where several fire crews were deployed to tackle the

The family said the blaze started in one of the bedrooms when a phone charger caught fire and within minutes it ripped through both homes, which have been owned by the family for at least 80 years.

Rich's parents Debbie, 56 and Danny, 57 (pictured below), live in the neighbouring property but weren't at home at the time of the fire. 

Laura Burgess, Rich's sister spoke to the Advertiser on behalf of the family and said they are "completely distraught".

Andover Advertiser: Rich's parents Debbie, 56 and Danny, 57

She said: "From what I know so far and how it has been explained to us, the fire started because of an electrical fault in a phone charger.

"My brother and Katie had gone to bed and my brother woke up with the fire alarm going off and his arm was lit because the phone charger was next to the bed."

Rich, who suffered smoke inhalation and was taken to hospital, was unable to put the fire out but he and his family managed to escape.

Laura said: "If Rich had not woken up when he did the family would not have made it out so we are just incredibly greatly that everyone is okay."

Andover Advertiser: The fire happened at Harrow Farm Cottages where several fire crews were deployed to tackle the

The family said Christmas presents that were inside the home have been destroyed along with clothing, children's toys and many treasured items. 

Laura said their lives have been "torn apart just before Christmas" and since the incident, the 29-year-old has set up a fundraising page hoping to raise £10,000 to help the family rebuild their lives. Nearly £3,000 has been raised at the time of writing. 

Andover Darts Academy, which Riley and Jake are members of, held a donation event for the family at the Andover Central Club on Tuesday, December 5.

SEE ALSO: Same name kept in Andover family for five generations

A post on the Andover Darts Academy Facebook reads: "Sadly two of our darts academy players and their family lost everything in a big house fire early hours of Saturday morning. Thankfully they all escaped but sadly they lost everything."

Laura added: "We just want to say a huge thank you to the Andover Darts Academy, the Appleshaw community and absolutely everyone that has made any contribution and donations to the family."

A Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson was unable to confirm the cause of the fire. 

They said: "The dwelling measured approximately 15mx10m, the first floor and roof were 100 per cent destroyed by fire and one male was taken to hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation.

"One aerial ladder platform, two breathing apparatuses, two hose reel jets, and two main jets were used to battle the flames.

"The stop message came in at 8.54am."

To donate to the fundraiser visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/laura-burgess.