Family overwhelmed as blaze destroys everything

UPDATE: Kinglake residents have donated baked goods for a family who lost everything in fire. 

The town was decimated by the Black Saturday fires, which claimed 173 lives in 2009. 

Mel Hutcheson, who is organising donations for the Bendigo family, said the contribution was "heart-warming". 

"There's been an enormous number of people emailing," she said. 

"It's been fantastic. 

"There have been over 50 people who have emailed me and there are friends and family who are also taking donations." 

The Kinglake donation was made to the Bendigo Police Station. 

Ms Hutcheson said three drop off points had been set up to gather the huge volume of goods promised to the family. 

EARLIER: A FAMILY which lost everything in a house fire days before Christmas has been overwhelmed by the experience.

Heather and Simon, who asked for their last names to be withheld, lost almost everything they own in a blaze on Friday.

Heather said she was struggling to process what had happened.

“It’s very overwhelming,” she said.

“It’s a mix of emotions.

“There’s very, very little we can salvage.

“The laundry is probably the only thing we can get a few things out of.

“I’ve certainly had better days.”

It’s believed an ember started a fire underneath a pergola which spread throughout the house.

Christmas presents for the couple’s children Sarah, 7, and Tahlia, nine months, were destroyed, along with birthday presents for Sarah. 

“The house is pretty much destroyed,” Simon said.

“It’s less than 24 hours since it happened so it’s a lot to organise and a lot to take in.”

Donations have started flowing in for the family, who did not have contents insurance on the rental property.

Mel Hutcheson has provided accommodation for the family, who have no relatives in Bendigo, near their destroyed home.

She is also seeking donations.

“I’ve got a couple of friends getting out there on Facebook and spreading the word,” Ms Hutcheson said.

“It’s a case of the community coming together to get it all done.

“They appreciate everything but we’re talking a whole household of items to replace.”

One donor, Debbie Rye of California Gully, said she felt for the family.

“I just feel sorry for her as a mother,” she said.

“It’s so close to Christmas.

“It would be terrible.

“I just want to do what I can.”

Ms Rye said she had almost lost her home on Black Saturday.

“We were one of the lucky ones, but this poor woman has lost everything," she said, 

Heather’s mother Lorraine travelled from Melbourne to sort through the remnants of the burnt Houlahan Street premises and searched for late pets.

She said her daughter would never ask for any support but deserved a helping hand. 

Anyone with donations can contact Ms Hutcheson at mel@homestylerespite.com.au

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