On 28th June 2016, Rakesh Kotecha set fire to his building development after encountering major financial problems. This was in a bid to claim insurance on the property and pay off his debt. However, as he poured flammable fluid around the Mill and trashed the place up he was unaware of Nicola King hiding upstairs. Rakesh then drops a lighter and hurries out of the burning Mill. The property quickly went up and Nicola tried to get out, but a column collapsed and whacked her on the right-hand side of her head, knocking her out. The fire later became apparent, as Dan Spencer spots smoke emitting for Mill Cottage just as the place explodes. He and local builder Ronnie Hale and they dived into the property to rescue her. Ronnie and Dan manage to get Nicola outside to safety, but Ronnie heads back in again fearing there are others inside, but was knocked unconscious by the toxic fumes emanating from the fire. He was rescued by Rakesh and Carly Hope in the nick of time before the building burned up and exploded, thankfully leaving no fatalities.
Unfortunately, the injuries left Ronnie in a coma for several weeks, and Nicola was later found to be completely paralysed on her right-hand side, potentially for life, which devastated Nicola and her family. It all came to nothing, as the insurance company concluded the fire was started fraudulently, and as a result, Rakesh's plan backfired. In June 2017, Nicola's husband Jimmy drunkenly reveals that Rakesh caused the fire eleven months previously, and after skipping bail, Rakesh flees the village.