Peo­ple rally af­ter fire guts home

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

‘‘I was think­ing slow down, I couldn't un­der­stand her. I started to get hys­ter­i­cal when she told me the house was on fire.’’

Jan­uary 25th 2017 is a day that will al­ways be etched in Ethel Wil­son’s mem­ory.

She, her hus­band Mac and their fam­ily were left home­less af­ter a fire de­stroyed their rental home on Inaka Place.

While los­ing a home is a tragedy, the real ter­ror was the hour or so that she thought her five-year-old moko, Justyce was in­side the home as it burned.

Ethel started her day just like any other. She had gone to work at Ing­hams, where she works in the laun­dry de­part­ment.

She re­ceived news of the fire from her daugh­ter, Weta.

‘‘I don’t take my phone on the premises - but I did that day. I don’t know how she re­mem­bered my num­ber.

‘‘I was think­ing slow down, I couldn’t un­der­stand her. I started to get hys­ter­i­cal when she told me the house was on fire.’’

Ethel jumped straight into the car and drove to Inaka Place.

‘‘I saw the smoke from the main road and it hit me.’’

It was at this time she was told by Weta that she thought Justyce was still in the house.

‘‘I was so scared, when I ap­proached her, she was hys­ter­i­cal be­cause they thought they didn’t get him out, and dropped to the ground.’’

The fam­ily went through 45 min­utes of pure ter­ror un­til Ethel’s nephew Wil­lie Joe ar­rived with Justyce.

‘‘He (Wil­lie Joe) didn’t know if Justyce got out but knew where he goes to play, so thought to go and have a look. He was play­ing down the street.

‘‘He said here he is, and I just grabbed him.

‘‘He didn’t know what he was do­ing, he saw the fire and ran away.

‘‘I was so pleased he wasn’t in I just that house. That would have been the worst part to lose any mem­bers of my fam­ily.’’

The fam­ily have since been liv­ing in a tent on the prop­erty of Mac’s el­dest daugh­ter and her part­ner.

‘‘I don’t know how many times my mat­tress got wet,’’ she said.

The Mata­mata com­mu­nity quickly came to the aid of the fam­ily with of­fer­ings of house­hold items and cloth­ing via the Mata­mata com­mu­nity buy and sell page. It was a ges­ture that sur­prised Ethel.

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