FAMILY LOSES EVERYTHING IN FIRE
A HEATLEY family of eight is homeless after their house was gutted by fire on Saturday night.
Grandmother Lenice Walsh was returning from the shops when she saw smoke rising into the air.
“I said to my de facto husband, ‘ there’s smoke, it looks like it’s near home’,” she said.
“I had a funny feeling and as soon as I said that, my niece who was here at the time called and said, ‘ you’d better come home because the house is on fire’.”
The couple arrived to see thick black smoke billowing from the house and their family sitting on the front lawn, watching their home go up in flames.
Police and fire crews responded to the incident about 5.30pm and stayed on scene until the fire was ex- tinguished at 7.20pm. Firefighters twice braved the flames to make sure nobody was inside.
It is believed the fire was started by Ms Walsh’s four- year- old grandson, who was playing with a lighter in a bedroom. Nobody was injured by the blaze, which has seen the asbestos- filled Fulham Rd Department of Housing home condemned.
“My main concern was for my mum and everyone in the house,” Ms Walsh said.
“I was so glad that everybody was safe – that’s the main thing.”
The family lost nearly everything in the inferno and were able to salvage only two boxes of belongings.
“We lost all our family photos and wedding photos of my brother who lost his wife early this year,” Ms Walsh said. “Starting over is the hardest part.” Neighbours helped out, lending the family bedding and clothes.
“Our last home burnt down in 2010 and we lost everything then, as well,” Ms Walsh said.
Ms Walsh said any assistance from the community would be appreciated and will contact the Salvation Army and other community groups to see if they can help.
My main concern was for my mum and everyone in the house
HOMELESS: Lenice Walsh with nephew Shane Yasserie, 14, and children Jason Doolan, 15, Alanna Doolan, 17, and Christine Doolan, 20, in front of their gutted home.
Smoke pours from the Heatley home, which was destroyed by fire.