Help fol­lows hor­ror

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

THERE’S been an out­pour­ing of support for three fam­i­lies af­fected by a dev­as­tat­ing house fire.

The De­cem­ber 15 blaze was started by a child play­ing with fire­works and gut­ted a Hous­ing New Zealand flat on McGe­han Close, Mt Al­bert.

The build­ing has been de­mol­ished.

Two ad­join­ing flats were dam­aged and two cars parked out­side were de­stroyed.

Nine peo­ple who lived in the flat where the fire started are stay­ing with rel­a­tives in south Auck­land un­til HNZ can find them a new home.

The fam­ily in­cludes a grand­mother, her three chil­dren and five grand­chil­dren. The youngest child is one.

They didn’t have con­tents in­surance and have lost ev­ery­thing, rel­a­tive Sina Teo says.

‘‘Thank the Lord no-one was in­jured or hurt. Words can’t de­scribe how emo­tional our fam­ily and friends feel. It hurts me to see fam­ily like this at this time of the year,’’ she says.

Do­na­tions in­clud­ing cloth-

since ing and su­per­mar­ket vouch­ers have been flow­ing in this week. The Mt Al­bert YMCA is act­ing as a col­lec­tion point for cloth­ing do­na­tions.

‘‘The fam­ily wants to say thank you to ev­ery­one,’’ Teo says.

Re­pairs on the two ad­join­ing flats should be com­plete this week so the res­i­dents can move back in.

A fund has also been set up through the Givealit­tle web­site to as­sist them.

The fire started at about 4.30pm on Mon­day and spread rapidly, se­nior fire risk man­age­ment of­fi­cer Rus­sell Dick­son says.

‘‘It just high­lights that it’s cru­cial that fire­works and light­ing ma­te­ri­als are kept where kids can’t get them.’’

Photo: SEAN WIL­LIS

The af­ter­math: The McGe­han Close flat be­fore it was de­mol­ished. It was gut­ted by a fire on Mon­day evening.

Big job: Fire­fight­ers get to grips with the rapidly spread­ing fire.

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