Help plea

Fire dev­as­tates res­i­dents

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Ali­cia Per­era

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.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

The house in Richard­son Way was gut­ted by fire on Mon­day, April 18.

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