Baldivis house fire prompts donations

Headshot of Pierra Willix
Pierra WillixSound Telegraph
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Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby, Richard Howie, Laura Howie and De Freitas & Ryan’s Vanessa Park outside the home, which was destroyed by fire last week.
Camera IconBaldivis MLA Reece Whitby, Richard Howie, Laura Howie and De Freitas & Ryan’s Vanessa Park outside the home, which was destroyed by fire last week. Credit: Pierra Willix

The community has rallied behind three Baldivis residents who lost their belongings in a house fire last week.

Crews from five firefighting services and 12 appliances were sent to battle the fire on Patron Road, on Monday morning, January 28.

Two of the three occupants of the house were home at the time.

Resident Laura Howie said she was in the front bedroom when she heard a crash and when she went out to investigate with her housemate Jack, they found the back window and their couch alight.

The roof of the house has collapsed.
Camera IconThe roof of the house has collapsed. Credit: Pierra Willix

“We knew there was nothing we could do and we had to get out quickly,” she said.

Within minutes, most of the house was in flames, and although the occupants were able to get their two dogs out of the home, most of their belongings were destroyed.

Almost as soon as people heard about the fire, Baldivis MLA Reece Whitby’s office was flooded with calls from people wanting to help.

“Almost instantly, people started calling up my office and seeing what they could do to help,” he said.

“We’ve had people donate items like fridges, a dining table, chairs, clothes and vouchers and money too. The phone was running hot with donations, but it doesn’t surprise me.

“Baldivis is a close-knit community that looks after its own.”

Ms Howie’s brother Richard, was working away at the time, but since he has returned, he has been overwhelmed by the community response, with both thanking their friends, family and the wider community who have offered help in the past week.

Businesses such as De Freitas & Ryan real estate agency helped to pitch in, donating money, while Goodstart Early Learning Baldivis had a collection point for donations at its Twilight Markets at the weekend.

Although many of the occupants’ belongings were lost in the fire, it did not touch a cupboard that contained precious family mementos, including Laura and Richard’s late grandmother’s jewellery.

“The fire didn’t touch it, and we were also able to save some photos, which was incredible,” Mr Howie said.

Although the rental property was insured, the contents insurance had lapsed last year, with Ms Howie urging renters and homeowners to double-check their insurance. The cause of the fire is unknown.

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