Offers flooding in for fire-stricken family

A house on Broadway in Stratford was destroyed by fire.
A house on Broadway in Stratford was destroyed by fire.

Offers of clothing, furniture, money and even a birthday party have flooded in for a Stratford family who lost everything when their house burnt down on Saturday.

Willem and Madeleine Bronkhorst, along with their children Willem Jr, 6 and Amelia, 3, arrived home on Saturday about 11am after attending a soccer game to find their Broadway home engulfed in flames.

Originally from South Africa, the family are now staying with friends as they take stock and come to terms with what has happened. The fire is not being treated as suspicious and the family were fully insured.

Family friend Pete Kieft said the Bronkhorst family were holding up well under the circumstances.

He said Willem Sr had also recently undergone hip surgery after being injured at work.

"They were going through a bit before this," Kieft said.

Kieft said there had already been a great response from the community in terms of offering the family assistance and he was happy that no one had been hurt in the fire.

"There could have been a lot of other possibilities," he said.

A Facebook page to assist the family was set up within hours of the blaze and already had 411 members.

The family have been inundated with offers of support and an account had also been set for donations.

A birthday party for Willem Jr at the house had been planned on the day it burned down and one of the offers was for a venue for another party.

Stratford chief fire officer Tony Foley said the blaze took about 30 minutes to get under control. Four fire trucks attended the scene and about 20 staff from Stratford, Toko, Eltham and Inglewood stations were in attendance.

Foley said a strong northerly wind had been a factor in how fast the fire took hold at the property.

"Unfortunately, the wind was blowing in the wrong direction and blew the fire right through the house," he said.

He said a full investigation was underway to ascertain the cause.

Taranaki Daily News