Fire devastates residents
A family who lost their home after a blaze destroyed it early last week are asking for help to get back on their feet.
A former tenant of the house in Richardson Way, Bulgarra, has been charged with “wilfully and unlawfully destroying the property by fire” on Monday, April 18.
Chanti McHenry, the granddaughter of main tenant Annette Starr and a former resident of the house, said her grandmother had been devastated to lose her home of many years in the fire.
“She’s all right at the moment, just every time she mentions it she gets a bit sad,” she said.
“She hasn’t even seen the house yet.
“I grew up there. I was really upset ... I have to try and think positive and I tell Nan we’ll be okay, people have said they’re going to help, and we have the basics.”
Ms McHenry’s mother was also living at the property and lost items, including her car, in the blaze.
Ms McHenry said she was grateful to people who had chipped in with donations to her family, which so far included food vouchers from the Salvation Army, a laptop, a microwave and a washing machine.
However, she said her grandmother still “needs air-con, maybe a little TV, food, personal items … at the moment really anything”.
She has set up a Go Fund Me page at gofundme.com/2f52hurx, titled “My Home Was Destroyed”, where people can make monetary donations online to help her family.
Miranda Starr, 33, appeared before the Karratha Magistrate’s Court last week charged with wilfully and unlawfully destroying the property by fire.
The accused was one of several occupants of the Department of Housing property and a daughter of the main tenant.
It is alleged Ms Starr lit the fire in her sister’s bedroom between 1.20pm and 2.20pm on April 18.
The accused and her two-yearold son were the only people at home at the time.
Speaking via video link from South Hedland Magistrate’s Court, Magistrate Michelle Ridley said criminal damage by fire was a charge that could only be dealt with by the Supreme Court.
Ms Starr was not required to enter a plea and will be held in remand until her next appearance before the Stirling Gardens Magistrate’s Court on May 4.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Pilbara Superintendent John Newman said the Richardson Way property had been “gutted” by the fire. “It was a total loss,” he said. Supt Newman said Karratha and Dampier volunteer firefighters were the initial brigades at the scene but “the fire was fully evolved” when they arrived.
No surrounding properties were damaged.
West Pilbara detectives and the WA Police arson squad are investigating the incident.
DFES will also complete a report into the fire in the next fortnight.
The house in Richardson Way was gutted by fire on Monday, April 18.