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Generous community aids house fire victims

Thursday November 09, 2017 Written by Published in Local
Allandra Donnelly, Moana Matapo, and Tina Daly survey what’s left of their home, following a devastating fi re that completely destroyed it. 17110807 Allandra Donnelly, Moana Matapo, and Tina Daly survey what’s left of their home, following a devastating fi re that completely destroyed it. 17110807

The island community is rallying around a family who lost everything in a devastating fire that destroyed their home on Tuesday evening last week.

 

The fire, which broke out on a remote section of the Avatiu valley, is thought by the home owner to have been deliberately lit.

Tina Daly and Moana Matapo escaped the blaze with only the clothes they were wearing, minutes before the home imploded.

Daly’s grand-daughter from Brisbane, Allandra Donnelly, also lost all of her belongings she had brought to Rarotonga.

Daly says the support she has received from the community and her family in the aftermath of the blaze has been “incredible”.

“I’ve had offers for help from everybody.

The generosity is unbelievable. People do really care.”

Since the night of the fire she says the Heather family around the Avatiu valley, her cousins, aunties and uncles, as well as family in Perth and Auckland, have all offered keys to their vacant houses in the area for somewhere to stay.

As one of 10 siblings, she says her family are really rallying around them with fundraising efforts already taking place in Australia and New Zealand.

The Rarotonga Hospital Comforts Committee has also donated a $150 Vonnias Warehouse voucher to help the trio start again.

An employee at their café and their family have also gifted Daly, Matapo and Donnelly food, clothes, linen and money.

A couple of young women workers in the area who frequently visit her business in town, also handed over an envelope of money, says Daly.

“Everyone has been so generous.

“Some have gone out and bought us new clothes,” says Dally.

Internal Affairs minister Albert Nicholas has also offered to arrange the removal all of the rubble from the destroyed home.

On the evening of the fire, Donnelly left home to go to a dance practice around 6.45.

Her grandmother fell asleep soon after, as did Matapo, who had started work at the café before 5am.

The front outside of the home that caught alight, did not have any electrical wiring that could have malfunctioned and caused a fire, says Daly.

Within 10 minutes the wooden home was completely engulfed.

“It went up like a tinder box.

“The fire services were unbelievable.

There were five trucks in attendance. And the police were so good too.”

The home, but not the contents were insured.

But more importantly Daly adds, the home carried with it nearly 40 years’ worth of family memories and her grandparents are buried on the property.

Daly, Moana and Donnelly are now staying close by at Daly’s uncle’s vacant house.