CHRISTMAS has gone up in flames, quite literally, for a young Poowong family of four after their home on the outskirts of town burnt to the ground last Sunday evening.
A Gofundme page has already been launched by a family member at https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-home-for-family-in-need and the community has come in strongly behind it.
The Poowong CFA got the emergency call at 5.10pm on Sunday but by then the home was well alight, reportedly started by Christmas tree lights, first catching on to decorations and presents already under the tree.
Brigades from Poowong, Loch, Korumburra and Traralgon attended, along with District 9 Commander Emma Conway.
It has also been reported that the lights were off at the time but whatever the situation, the scene at the former family home of Natalie and Nathan Hancock, and their two young children, on Monday morning this week was one of utter devastation.
The couple and friends were picking through the rubble, trying to salvage whatever they could out of the blackened mess, with Natalie also fielding calls of support, including from her native home in Sweden.
Not just because it’s so close to Christmas but because they’ve worked so hard to turn the rundown farmhouse into a home over the past 12 months.
The good news, if there can be good news from such a disaster, is that everyone is safe.
According to the gofundme story, posted by Natalie’s sister, Angelica, back in Sweden, the couple were out driving when they got a video message from someone passing their house showing their home engulfed in flames.
The gofundme post continues:
“This is the beautiful family of my younger sister Nathalie. Her husband Nathan and their kiddos are in desperate need of help right now as they just lost their home and everything inside of it to an unforgiving fire.
“With about a week left before Christmas, the beloved family home of my sister is in flames.
“Early this morning we received a phone call from Australia. My little sister, in devastation, struggling to get words out for the shock of having just found out her home is no more.
“Thankfully, all the animals, children and members of family were safe. However, they are now grieving the house they have worked unfathomably hard to make a home of this past year.
“All the blood, sweat and tears that went into restoring a house they felt fortunate enough to finally, after immense determination and years of hard work, be able to buy for their family and call their own.
“Prior to this event, they have had to endure so much misfortune with accidents and disease that I pray they will for once be blessed with grace.”
The community of Poowong has already activated in support of their own.
Jodi Loughridge, a member of the family farming with whom Natalie and Nathan work, says several community groups in the town are off and running.
“It has started with the local kinder and the primary school but there are several other organisations that will want to get involved as well, the Lions Club and CWA for two but I’m just in the process of getting in touch with some people higher up.
“People will want to do what they can but initially, if they can start with the gofundme page and we’ll have more in train over the next few days.
“Poowong is such a supportive community and it’s through something like this that people realise what an awesome community they live in, even if they have to find out through something as devastating as this.”
CFA spokesperson Emma Conway said that while the home was fully involved when crews arrived several sheds were saved, and the fire stopped from spreading to a neighbouring home
Go to gofundme.com and type ‘A home for family in need’ or use the link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/a-home-for-family-in-need