Sup­port fol­lows store’s fire and flood

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

A Pau­ata­hanui dairy owner who got hit by both fire and a flood in two days is thank­ing the com­mu­nity not only for sav­ing her life, but ral­ly­ing in the af­ter­math.

Gita Pa­tel, who owns the Pau­ata­hanui Gen­eral Store with hus­band Nanu, was still feel­ing shaken last week so asked Ru­ral Trad­ing Post owner Diane Boy­ack to speak on her be­half.

Mrs Pa­tel was serv­ing cus­tomers on Sun­day morn­ing, Fe­bru­ary 2, when a fire started in the shop’s deep fat fryer. It took fire­fight­ers 40 min­utes to con­tain the blaze, which dam­aged the side of the 15-year-old shop and part of its roof.

Work­ers from the Chal­lenge petrol sta­tion and GroundUp Cafe helped Mrs Pa­tel out of the shop, Ms Boy­ack says.

‘‘She thanks them for sav­ing her life, she’s very grate­ful.’’

The next day heavy rains caused flood­ing in the build­ing.

The Pa­tels live be­hind the shop with their two teenage sons. Peo­ple in the com­mu­nity of­fered them places to stay and dropped off meals, Ms Boy­ack says.

‘‘There’s been a lot of com­mu­nity sup­port, just mak­ing sure they’re OK. Emo­tional sup­port as well.’’

The dairy was able to re­open the day af­ter the fire, but the deep fat fryer re­mains out of ac­tion un­til re­pairs are ap­proved by the Pa­tels’ in­surance com­pany.

Mrs Pa­tel did not re­alise how cher­ished she and her fam­ily were un­til the fire, Mrs Boy­ack says.

She is still deeply af­fected by the emer­gency, Mrs Boy­ack says. ‘‘She’s not sleep­ing well, she says she keeps think­ing about the fire.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

Grate­ful: Pau­ata­hanui Gen­eral Store owner Gita Pa­tel has been over­whelmed by the com­mu­nity sup­port fol­low­ing a fire at the dairy.

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