Generosity moves family to tears
A Naenae family who lost everything in a house fire on Sunday have been moved to tears by the generosity of strangers.
The Faitala family were lucky to escape out the back door as flames swept through their Sinclair Gr rental property from a front room just after 9am on Sunday morning. But their house and all their possessions were destroyed.
Now Eliza and Isaako say they're amazed by the generosity of their neighbours, complete strangers and businesses who have together made offers to help them piece their lives back together.
Mrs Faitala says the families that live in Sinclair Gr are a close neighbourhood and have been very supportive.
''They are really nice people there, they all came out and brought things out for us on that day.''
The Faitalas are about to move into a house, organised for them by The Professionals real estate team, where they can live rent-free until the end of November.
Furniture is being donated by the Salvation Army, and whiteware from Mr Rentals.
The family has also been given grocery vouchers by Pak'n Save, New World and ARL Lawyers, vouchers from Abode cafe, a hamper of Mother Earth products and Sweet and Salty treats, and on Wednesday they were given the keys to their own Fiat Marea, worth almost $5,000, from Super Save Cars Lower Hutt. The Fiat will replace their car which was also destroyed in the fire.
Isaako Faitala struggled to hold back tears as he thanked those who have helped.
''It nearly melted my heart, this has never happened in my life before, all those people that I didn't know before.
''It means a lot.''
Other than the clothes they were wearing, the only thing left from their house is the oven glove their three-year-old was holding when the fire alarm went off, Mr Faitala says.
When the fire started he was out grocery shopping, he arrived home just after his wife escaped the house with their sons, 5, 3 and three months old.
''I was in the kitchen washing the plates with my three year old, and heard the alarm,'' Mrs Faitala says.
''I went to the room and my little boy was standing there looking at the fire.''
She sent him to the back door and yelled for her five-year-old to wake from his bedroom while she ran to pick the baby up. Together they all ran out the back door before smoke filled the house.
The first fire truck arrived within three minutes and five fire trucks were at the scene within seven minutes, but the fire had spread quickly.
''We lost our wedding photos and baby photos, but the important thing is that my kids are alive, so those things don't really matter,'' Mrs Faitala says.
The family want to thank everyone who has supported them, especially neighbours Anne, Ted and Jodine, Victim Support, and Shane Brockelbank from The Professionals who coordinated many of the donations.
- Household items and donations for the Faitalas can be left at the Salvation Army family store on the corner of Cornwall Rd and Kings Cr. Salvation Army staff can also pick up any large items, 570 0273
Overwhelmed: The Faitala family with representatives from the businesses who have come to their rescue after their belongings were destroyed in a house fire on Sunday morning. PHOTO: KAROLINE TUCKEY
After the fire: A fire fighter stands inside the Faitala's gutted Sinclair Gr house. PHOTO: FAIRFAX