Church recovers from fire
The folks at Porirua Gospel Chapel are a hardy lot.
Nearly two months after a fire caused $70,000 worth of damage to one of the rooms at the church, renovation is nearly complete. Deacon Brian McGettigan said the loss of the room was inconvenient, since it was well used by Sunday School groups and English for Speakers of Other Languages, the latter for four days a week with about 20 refugee students.
‘‘ Unfortunately, [ the ESOL students] have had to use a rather smaller, cramped room around the corner.
‘‘But in four weeks we should have the new carpet down . . . There’s new lights, a good paint job and a ranchslider, so it is going to look nice, eventually.’’
Eighteen computers were also destroyed in the blaze, which put after-school and holiday programmes in jeopardy.
But a trip to Turners Auctions saw the church snap up secondhand machines, and last week a dozen children came to the church to play strategy games.
‘‘We would normally have 20 to 24 kids but those numbers dropped off [following the fire].
‘‘Still, we’re keeping these kids off the street and occupied, and they’re having fun.’’
Mr McGettigan says it has been a battle to get back to some semblance of normality, but the church community is resilient.
A 43-year-old Porirua man faces arson charges after a spree of suspicious fires in the region over Queen’s Birthday weekend.