Allison is a digital reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times

Family still homeless after losing everything in blaze

1 comment
Savanna Wichman and her family are struggling to find a new home after theirs burned down. Children Bella 9, Riley, 6, Winter, 2, Alistair, 5 mths. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Savanna Wichman and her family are struggling to find a new home after theirs burned down. Children Bella 9, Riley, 6, Winter, 2, Alistair, 5 mths. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

A Papamoa family is still homeless, three weeks after losing almost everything they owned in a house fire.

The Dickson Rd home of Kent Robinson, his partner, Savanna Wichman, and their five children was badly damaged by fire on August 21 - they lost everything in the blaze apart from a suitcase of photographs and some washing on the clothesline.

Since then there has been an outpouring of community generosity for the family of seven.
They received donations of clothes, toys, furniture, a washing machine, building tools, even makeup for Ms Wichman, but they now needed a roof over their heads.

Ms Wichman told the Bay of Plenty Times the last few weeks had been "emotionally, really hard."

Savanna Wichman just wants a roof over her and her five children's heads after their home burned down in a fire. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK
Savanna Wichman just wants a roof over her and her five children's heads after their home burned down in a fire. PHOTO/GEORGE NOVAK

"We have only just wrapped our heads around everything now. We're learning to adjust to the changes but it has been a bit of a shock."

Staying with friends and family over the past weeks, they were now living in Whakatane with Mr Robinson's mother.

Mr Robinson was commuting more than 80km to work every day, and the kids, ranging from four months old to nine years old, had been temporarily taken out of school.

The family had been to numerous rental viewings, and had two real estate agents on the lookout for a 3- or 4-bedroom house for $560-70 a week in Tauranga.

"We've gotten our hopes up so many times, but when owners see there are seven of us they decide there are too many," Ms Wichman said.

She said no one seemed willing to take a family of seven, including children Winter, 2, Tayla-Rose, 3, Riley, 6, Bella, 9, and 4-month-old Alistair.

Video

They had not had a proper sleep since the fire, Ms Wichman said.

"We've always been at someone else's house, they are living their own lives, and we can't keep intruding on them."

She said the kids were coping, though were a bit unsettled and she was worried about their lack of routine.

All the donated goods were in storage.

"All the stuff we got is amazing. But now we are just floating around with nowhere to put it all."

Fire investigator Jon Rewi said the cause of the blaze was confirmed as an accident, likely started by a spark from a chisel sharpening tool that caught on upholstery.

Mr Rewi said it was likely the house would have to be rebuilt.

House fire on Dixon Road Papamoa. Photo/James Smith
House fire on Dixon Road Papamoa. Photo/James Smith

For more articles from this region, go to

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

Sort by
  • Oldest

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 26 Sep 2016 18:23:17 Processing Time: 800ms