Glendene family loses everything after house explodes

Shakuntala Ram, left, her son Akshay and granddaughter Drishti, 8, have lost everything after their house caught fire.
CIARA PRATT/FAIRFAX NZ

Shakuntala Ram, left, her son Akshay and granddaughter Drishti, 8, have lost everything after their house caught fire.

A family of five has been left with nothing but the clothes on their backs after a devastating house fire. 

Shakuntala Ram was renting the house in Bancroft Cres, Glendene, West Auckland, when it was destroyed by a blaze on September 25. Seventeen fire trucks were called to the scene after the explosion which saw the house engulfed by flames.

Fire investigators are still working to determine the cause of the fire. 

More than a week later, the house is cordoned off and there is still a strong smell of smoke in the air. Their only car was burned through and their possessions now resemble piles of ash.

Ram, her three children and granddaughter moved to the industrial area 13 months ago after rising rent at their previous home became unaffordable. 

They managed to escape the blaze uninjured however the force of the flames singed her son's pants. 

"I saw my son, his pants were burned to his calf and his eyebrows and eyelashes were burned. The flames were so high," Ram says. 

Ram, who is on a sickness benefit after a work injury, says she moved to New Zealand from Fiji 13 years ago as a single mother with her children and just $150 to her name. 

"I've spent my life working, 13 years in New Zealand. I've lost everything. It's all gone. 

"I am supporting myself and my kids. I don't know what to say, I have absolutely nothing."

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She says the main thing is that her children are safe. 

The Ram's are staying with a family friend until they can sort emergency housing and while they work with their insurance company.

At the time of the blaze, Fire Service communications shift manager Dallas Ramsay says there were reports of an explosion "possibly a gas cylinder". 

Fire risk management officer Michael Upton says it's a timely reminder that families make sure they have working smoke alarms.

The Fire Service recommends long life photoelectric smoke alarms in every bedroom, hallway and living area.

If you can donate any items or vouchers to the family please contact Penny Hinchelwood from Helping Hand on 021 186 4275 or head to Facebook and search Helping Hand. Or contact Evelyn Cassie 021 108 7610 from The Koha Shed

 - Stuff

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