Family seeks home after fire guts rental
The Porirua family who lost everything in a house fire last month are living in a motel, struggling to find a new home.
The community rallied around Muaau and Vasati Lopati, donating everything from a microwave to spare bedding, after their possessions went up in smoke during a fast blaze at their rented Cannons Creek home on April 27.
But three weeks on, donated goods remain in storage as the couple found another rental property in Champion St was not suitable.
They needed a house big enough for them and their children, in Tawa or Porirua, and were getting help from Housing NZ.
Muaau Lopati, who had been driving his taxi when he heard about the fire at home, said he and his wife had since been living in a motel, with help from Work and Income.
‘‘At the moment, we’re looking for a house. Before the fire, we were planning to have our family together, with our kids.
‘‘But everything’s been disturbed and interrupted by the fire. Without the fire, everything would be all right.’’
It was hoped their kids, aged 10 and 16, would arrive to live with them in Tawa or Porirua from Samoa in about a month.
His wife, who managed to flee the house in time thanks to a smoke alarm, has had a hard time getting over the shock.
The cause of the blaze was thought to be an electrical fault in the lounge, the same room where Vasati Lopati tried desperately to fight the flames leaping up the walls.
‘‘We don’t want to live in a motel,’’ Muaau Lopati said.
‘‘We appreciate what they have done, but that’s not how we want to live.
‘‘We’re just looking forward to getting back to normal ... back on our feet. It’s hard to think normally. Most of the time we just make sure we are all right.
‘‘But now it’s the two of us needing a house badly.’’
The family were extremely grateful to the community for its support, and to the woman providing storage for the donated goods, in the weeks after the blaze.
‘‘There’s a lot of love in the area for us and we appreciate it.’’
The Lopatis lost everything in a fire at the home they rented in Porirua.