Newly-weds 'lose everything' in fire
Offers of help include 'someone to play with'MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
A newly-wed Winchester couple has lost "just about everything" in a freak fire caused by a car crashing into a power pole.
Simon and Samantha Norton said they were woken up by a ''huge bang'' on Sunday morning, about 6.30am, only to discover their house utterly alight within ''a matter of seconds''.
Jack, 3, was awake, but Lexi - who celebrates her first birthday today - was in bed.
''It all happened so quickly," said Simon Norton. "We couldn't tell what was going on. We were lucky our son, Jack, was already awake and in the lounge.
''We grabbed our daughter, Lexi, our laptop, and just rushed outside, the whole place was burned so quickly.''
A car had collided with a power pole just outside their home in Erskine Rd, Winchester, causing a spectacular power surge and setting the Norton's home ablaze.
Simon Norton said the couple lost ''just about everything'' in the fire, including the photos and gifts from their wedding, which was held just three weeks ago.
However, Samantha Norton said offers of help had poured in over the last 24 hours including a card from a three-year-old ''asking if our son, Jack, wanted someone to play with''.
She said the help was overwhelming.
''We simply don't know where we're going to put it all. There have been nearly two truck-and-trailer loads full of gifts, food and supplies.
''People just came from all around to help. Some of them would have had their own problems, or been without power. It really makes you feel so grateful for the community spirit."
Simon Norton said the insurance company was due to come today to assess damage to the home they had bought just two years ago.
The family are currently staying with family, but would need to find a place to rent. ''We're not sure what's going to happen to our home. We were due to renovate the place,'' said Simon Norton.
A 1997 Mitsubishi Pajero, travelling north with three occupants, collided with the pole on State Highway 1 at 6.30am on Sunday, just outside the Nortons' house in Erskine Rd, Winchester. The high-voltage lines then clashed with low-voltage circuitry, causing a power surge affecting households in the Winchester, Orari, Geraldine and Temuka areas.
As a result of the car crash, power was out to more than 1200 homes in the area for most of Sunday, but contractors from lines company Alpine Energy have since restored the fault.
Police are still making enquiries into the cause of the crash.
- The Timaru Herald