The Hillyer’s moved into their third house in as many months on Monday after a car ploughed into their first home and a gas explosion ripped through their temporary accommodation.
Their seven-month-old twins lost all their toys in the explosion that devastated their rented home, while the parents were forced to throw out nearly all of their possessions.
But despite the series of disasters, which also saw baby Austin in hospital for two weeks, mum Donna thinks they are among Britain’s luckiest.
Donna, 33, said: “We have escaped two major accidents. We were not in the house on either occasion and nobody was hurt, so maybe we have the best luck.
“We don’t see ourselves as a tragic case. We are all still together and none of us got hurt – that is what matters.”
First, they were forced to flee the family home in Walthamstow, east London, she and husband Tim bought for #375,000 in 2012 when a car careered into their living room on November 6.
Publisher Donna and scientist Tim, 33, had taken Austin and Annabelle to the shops leaving at home her father Pat Condon, 61, who was visiting from County Waterford.
She said: “The four of us had gone out leaving my father there and we had been in Mothercare for two minutes when my dad rung.
“Really calmly, he’s a really calm Irish guy, he said ‘I think you need to come back because a car has gone into your house’.
“I was laughing thinking ‘good one dad’ but he said ‘no this is serious’.
“Because he’s such an understated guy I realised then it must be absolute devastation if he’s being serious.”
They were met at their home by around 30 firemen and were told they couldn’t enter it because the car caused structural damage.
Donna said a “conservative” estimate of the damage to their Victorian terrace home is #60,000 and how the accident happened is still a mystery.
She said: “The children were only four-and-a-half-months old at that point which made the situation much more of a crisis.
“Dad said he heard a really loud crack and turned his head and saw the car coming through the curtains of the front room. It happened so quick he didn’t even digest it he just got out through the front door.
“He was in the house and wasn’t hurt, and the chances of all four of us being in the house is so likely it was amazing it wasn’t a very different story.”
A neighbour let the family stay for the weekend and two days later they moved into rented accommodation just a five minute walk from their home.
But just days after Christmas, Austin spent two weeks in Whipps Cross University Hospital, in Walthamstow, with a “very serious” virus.
When he recovered, Donna decided to take him and sister Annabelle for a walk on February 6.
Just minutes after they left a gas explosion destroyed the first-floor of their rented home.
Donna said: “On the day I thought he was 99 per cent better I thought I’d take him into Walthamstow to run an errand.
“I had just got to the bank when my husband called. He said he’d been rung by the London Fire Brigade to say the rental house had a gas explosion and a major fire.
“They found a pay slip of his in the wreckage and tracked him down at work.
“Pretty much all our belongings had been destroyed by smoke damage or in the fire.”
The family were again put up by a kind neighbour and this week moved into a new rented property in Walthamstow.
Donna added: “Nothing happens when we are there. Everyone’s saying we are going to be the guests no-one wants to get rid of because when we leave the bad things happen. But as a group we are a good luck charm.
“With the young children around there’s no time to be upset I think that keeps us on the positive road. It’s either crumble or move forward and we are definitely trying to move forward.
“Every time I leave the house now I take much more milk than I will need – that’s how crazy things are.
“We are so lucky to have had the support of our neighbours and even the help from strangers has been overwhelming.”