Hope after fire takes everything

By Lindy Laird

After losing everything in a house fire, Omapere couple Chantal and Rui de Souza are finding comfort in the generosity of family, friends and complete strangers.

The couple and their two small sons escaped unhurt but with only the clothes they were wearing when their house erupted in flames early Sunday morning.

Their friend Carl Mann has mounted an appeal - with which the Northern Advocate is helping - for donations that might help the family piece a home together again.

The de Souzas are staying with Mrs de Souza's mother at Omapere in the meantime.

The fire started in the hearth of the old wooden house they had rented for five months. Mr de Souza was asleep on the living room couch when he was woken by the heat of the fire that was still contained under the floor and in the wall cavities.

After alerting his wife the couple grabbed their sleeping babies and rushed outside. Only moments later the flames engulfed the house.

The Advocate has received offers of children's clothes and toys, and, knowing the kindness of Northlanders, expects more goods to be pledged or brought in to the office.

There is no room at the office for large items.

The family has already received some offers from far and near but has no transport.

Anyone who regularly travels to Omapere and can pick up and deliver goods, possibly from Whangarei, can phone Mrs de Souza on 09 4058154 or call the Advocate's newsroom, 09 4702875.

- Northern Advocate

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