A POOWONG North family is coming to terms with the devastation of losing their home after it burned to the ground on Tuesday last week.
The community is rallying around the Elliott family with offers of assistance flooding in.
Emma and Justin Elliott and their two children Lachlan and Hannah lost everything – even their beloved pet dog Evie, but they are soldiering on.
Emma went back to work as a district nurse on the weekend in a bid to restore some normality.
“It’s felt like we’ve been living in a dream,” Emma said yesterday.
“The kids are OK. We’ve made them go back to school, but they’re struggling with the fact they’ve lost all of their favourite things.
“Hannah only just turned 11 and had some unopened birthday presents.”
Despite the total devastation at the site, Justin may have been able to salvage some of Emma’s jewellery, found in the rubble. It’s being assessed by a jeweller.
Emma said the support from the community had been “overwhelming”.
While they’re living with her parents, she said she received three offers of accommodation within hours of the fire.
“Hannah’s dance studio has covered her dance fees, the Hallora Junior Football Club has been fantastic, everyone at the Poowong Basketball Association, local businesses, the people I work with at the Warragul Hospital, the Lions Club, family – even people who listen to 3AW have given us a new dog.
“We’ve had 37 tooth brushes donated. We’re going to have very clean teeth – you still have to smile at the funny things!”
The Poowong Hotel raised more than $800 in donations and the Red Cross has shown its support.
Lachlan’s basketball teammates organised a sausage sizzle in Poowong on Saturday morning which raised $1654 including donations.
“It was amazing. There were kids there who were donating their money boxes.”
The fire at the Beverleys Road home started with an electrical fault. An investigation will confirm the exact cause.
The Poowong CFA Tanker and Ultra-light were the first units to the scene.
Loch, Korumburra, Drouin, Hallora and Heath Hill brigades also attended.
First Lieutenant Geoff Douglas from Poowong CFA said that despite the extreme heat on the day, the fire was contained to the house site.
“It was probably fortunate that it was on the top of the hill.”
The call-out was received at 5pm and the crews remained at the scene until 11pm. Lt Douglas said water access was an issue. A quick fill pump was required to operate from a nearby dam.
Friends have organised an ongoing fundraising appeal. Donations of gift cards and money are welcome.
Details of the Elliott Family Fund: BSB 063532; Acc: 10553133.
Donations can also be left at the Poowong Hotel or Darnum Post Office.
Another fundraising sausage sizzle will be held at Woolworths at Koo Wee Rup this Saturday from 10am to 2pm.