"I can't thank everyone enough."

That was the reaction of Pongakawa mum Shavaughan Burkett to the outpouring of community support after a house fire destroyed almost everything her family of four owned on Wednesday evening.

The three bedroom Arawa St rental home she shared with partner Blake Curtis and their children - Korbin, aged 2-1/2, and 5-month-old Jaylah - was gutted by the fast-moving blaze.

Most of their belongings were burned, or smoke damaged beyond repair.

Advertisement

Burkett said she still could not talk about the fire, which investigators have confirmed started with a pot of oil left on the stove while the family of four briefly popped out.

"I'm still dealing with my emotions. My body still feels numb," she said.

The stay-at-home mum said she was just grateful it had not happened when she and the kids were asleep in the lounge just a short time before.

The family lost most of their belongings when fire gutted their rental home. Photo / John Borren
The family lost most of their belongings when fire gutted their rental home. Photo / John Borren

In the immediate aftermath, the family were left with only the clothes on their backs.

"My son was just in a nappy for the first day."

Burkett, who was born in Tauranga but had only just moved back with her family in the past year, said she had not realised how supportive the community would be.

"People have been buying us things instead of gifting on old things.

"Every time someone tells me they have something for us I'm in tears again - my eyes are swollen and red.

Some of the donations given to the family whose rental home was destroyed by fire. Photo/supplied
Some of the donations given to the family whose rental home was destroyed by fire. Photo/supplied

"I just can't thank everyone enough.

"The amount of love everyone has been giving me and my family has been unbelievable."

She said they had practically been donated "a whole household".

"We probably have more than what we had before. We didn't even have drawers, and now we do."

A pot of cooking oil left unattended on the stove has been identified as the cause of the blaze. Photo/John Borren
A pot of cooking oil left unattended on the stove has been identified as the cause of the blaze. Photo/John Borren

The donations included a dining table and chairs, and a brand new bed gifted by Harvey Norman, as well as clothes and toys for the kids.

"My kids are smiling. They have something to play with."

Best of all, the family, who had been staying with relatives near Pukehina, have found somewhere to live.

Burkett said a friend had sorted out a rental they could use while they found their feet. She was waiting to hear back on whether they could stay permanently.

Meanwhile, a Givealittle page set up for the family, who were on a single income and did not have contents insurance, has received donations exceeding $3000.

That included an anonymous donation of $2000.