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Mother, 32, tells of devastation as house burned down on Britain’s hottest day

A mother has told of her devastation as she and her family ‘lost everything’ when her house burned down on Britain’s hottest day in history.

Zoya Shumanska, 32, has recalled the horrific moment her house in Dagenham went up in flames after a blaze broke out in a park nearby and her husband’s heroic actions as he attempted to save their pets.

The incident took place on 19 July, Britain’s hottest ever day on record, with temperatures soaring to 40.3C (104.5F) caused by a plume of hot air from north Africa and the Sahara. Dagenham reached highs of over 36C (97F) that day.

There were 15 fire engines and 100 fire fighters at the scene, with several other houses in the neighborhood also having been destroyed.

At the time, the mother-of-two was at the airport, on her way to Bulgaria to visit her parents when she received a call that her property was on fire. Zoya’s husband, Lyuben Velov, 34, was already at the scene.

A family from Dagenham have been left in ‘absolute shock’ after a fire tore through their home which left them with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Pictured, Zoya, 32, right, husband Lyuben, 34, left, with their two sons

Zoya Shumanska, 32, has recalled the horrific moment her house went up in flames after a blaze broke out in a park nearby and her husband's heroic actions as he attempted to save their pets.  Pictured, the home after the fire

Zoya Shumanska, 32, has recalled the horrific moment her house went up in flames after a blaze broke out in a park nearby and her husband’s heroic actions as he attempted to save their pets. Pictured, the home after the fire

Watching their home burn, the father was desperate to enter the house to save the family’s dog, Mia, and two cats, Muci and Michelle, which were trapped inside.

Ignoring police advice to stay well back, in a panic, Lyuben went around the corner and jumped the fence to enter the burning house to try and get the animals out.

‘All I could think only about was how my cats and dogs could be burning alive and I started crying,’ Zoya told NeedToKnow.online.

Although he was anxious to get the couple’s cats out too, the situation was considered too dangerous by fire fighters who held him back.

Zoya said: ‘They asked him not to go and save anything else as he could lose his life, as the fire was already on the door step.

The incident took place on 19 July, Britain's hottest ever day on record, with temperatures soaring to 40.3C (104.5F) caused by a plume of hot air from north Africa and the Sahara.  Dagenham reached highs of over 36C (97F) that day.  Pictured, the smoke from the burning home

The incident took place on 19 July, Britain’s hottest ever day on record, with temperatures soaring to 40.3C (104.5F) caused by a plume of hot air from north Africa and the Sahara. Dagenham reached highs of over 36C (97F) that day. Pictured, the smoke from the burning home

The mother-of-two was at the airport, on her way to Bulgaria to visit her parents when she received a call that her property was on fire

Pictured, the aftermath of the fire

The mother-of-two was at the airport, on her way to Bulgaria to visit her parents when she received a call that her property was on fire. Zoya’s husband, Lyuben Velov, 34, was already at the scene (pictured, the aftermath of the fire)

‘He listened to them and they helped him climb the fence again and leave the property. I logged into my house camera from the airport and I could see how my car was on fire and the fences on the left.

‘All I could think about was how absolutely everything was in flames.

‘I was so shocked that I left my bags in front of the gate screen and went to the boarding gate without my bags and holding only my kids.’

Zoya had to board her flight to Bulgaria with her two sons, aged two and seven, not knowing what was left of her family home.

The mother-of-two watched the house go up in flames through her doorbell camera which captured footage of the fire, but was destroyed before she could download it.

The fire was started after a blaze broke out in a park nearby in Dagenham.  Pictured, the house following the fire which completely destroyed the family's home

The fire was started after a blaze broke out in a park nearby in Dagenham. Pictured, the house following the fire which completely destroyed the family’s home

Zoya had to board her flight to Bulgaria with her two sons, aged two and seven, not knowing what was left of her family home.  Pictured is what she saw while on video call with her husband

Zoya had to board her flight to Bulgaria with her two sons, aged two and seven, not knowing what was left of her family home. Pictured is what she saw while on video call with her husband

Zoya's doorbell camera captured the fire, but was destroyed before she could download the footage

Zoya’s doorbell camera captured the fire, but was destroyed before she could download the footage

She later found out that the blaze had taken everything and that her two cats were still nowhere to be found.

Zoya said: ‘We lost everything; photos, albums, hard drives, laptops, documents, our clothes, some savings, jewellery, my car.

‘My husband has been left only with the clothes on him and his car. I have even lost his IDs and passports from him.

‘I managed to save three bags of clothes which are my kids’ summer clothes and some of mine [as we had it with us on the trip].

‘Everything else burned, unfortunately I found out that even my fish in the pond are most likely to have died because of the fire.

‘The firefighters advised us that there were no dead cats in the whole fire, however we are still looking for them.’

Zoya, who works as an accountant, is currently staying in Bulgaria while Lyuben remains in London.

He is visiting the home every day with the hopes of finding their two cats.

Zoya (centre left), who works as an accountant, is currently staying in Bulgaria while Lyuben (right) remains in London

Zoya (centre left), who works as an accountant, is currently staying in Bulgaria while Lyuben (right) remains in London

Pictured at Easter, Zoya and Lyuben's two sons, aged seven and two, were in the airport with their mother on the day of the fire

Pictured at Easter, Zoya and Lyuben’s two sons, aged seven and two, were in the airport with their mother on the day of the fire

Ignoring police advice to stay well back, in a panic, husband Lyuben went around the corner and jumped the fence to enter the burning house to try and get the animals out.  Pictured is the family dog ​​Mia which Lyuben managed to save

Ignoring police advice to stay well back, in a panic, husband Lyuben went around the corner and jumped the fence to enter the burning house to try and get the animals out. Pictured is the family dog ​​Mia which Lyuben managed to save

Zoya posted a public message in her community Facebook group to ask people to keep an eye out for her cats (pictured, Muci)

Her husband has been returning to the house each day to try and find the cats (pictured, Michelle)

The morning after the fire, Zoya posted a public message in her community Facebook group to ask people to keep an eye out for her cats (pictured left, Muci, and right, Michelle, who have not yet been found since the fire last week)

The mother said: ‘As long as we are alive, fit and in good health, everything is possible.

‘I am also very lucky that my kids and I are with my family in Bulgaria and my kids are not witnessing what has happened.’

The morning after the fire, Zoya posted a public message in her community Facebook group to ask people to keep an eye out for her cats.

‘There are people going out every day to look for my cats and giving me an update,’ she continued.

Since the fire, the family have been looking for places to rent while their home gets rebuilt.

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