Couple heartbroken as uninsured home of 35 years burns down just before selling

A couple have been left heartbroken after their family home was destroyed in a fire just moments before it was due to be viewed by dozens of potential buyers.

Mark and Sharon Wibberley were forced to flee the home they had lived in for 35 years as flames began to rip through it.

The devastated couple only managed to grab some treasured possessions and their pet parrot.

To make matters much worse, the 57 and 56-year-old couple aren't insured.

Mark told the Manchester Evening News: " The whole house is absolutely ruined.

"It's just horrific. My wife's in tears, I've been in tears, I'm not ashamed to say."

It is believed that the fire began after sparks from a downstairs log burner blew out of the chimney and into the loft.

Around 30 firefighters were called to the blaze at around 9.40am on Saturday (February 19).

According to Mark, the couple put their home up for sale and were preparing for an open morning where 30 perspective buyers were due to come and view the property.

But tragically just 20 minutes before viewings were due to start, Mark said a woman knocked on the door and said the "roof was on fire".

Mark attempted to throw buckets of water onto the flames in the loft but it was too intense and he was forced flee.

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He said: "I threw a bucket of water on the fire but it didn't make a dent, so I got another another bucket.

"By that time the lady next door was shouting at us to get out, because it was really going.

"I couldn't see a thing. There was black smoke everywhere.

"My wife was screaming at me to get out saying it was too late, so we grabbed a couple of possessions and the parrots and just got out."

Devastatingly, Mark and Sharon's home insurance ran out in December.

They thought the policy had been automatically renewed and sadly hadn't noticed that the payments stopped coming out of their bank.

Now the couple have been left with a repair bill of tens of thousands.

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Mark said: "The house was up for sale for offers over £170,000 and we were hoping for £180,000 – so that's gone.

"It's going to cost at least £70,000 to repair and the loss of our possessions is just incalculable.

"To see it, to look at photos and things like that, it's just heartbreaking.

"Everybody keeps saying 'You got out' and, yeah, we did, but at this moment in time I just keep thinking 'f****** hell. Why me?'"

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