Donations help young family

Sophia ConstantineNorth West Telegraph
Gerhardus, Suretha and Maryna Sevenster outside of the home on Orchid Close.
Camera IconGerhardus, Suretha and Maryna Sevenster outside of the home on Orchid Close. Credit: Sophia Constantine

A Hedland family who lost their home and possessions in a fire say they are overwhelmed by the support they have received from the community.

Locals donated everything from furniture to clothing and gift vouchers after Suretha and Gerhardus Sevenster’s home in Orchid Close, South Hedland, caught fire on February 24.

It is believed the blaze at the home, which was not insured, was caused by an air-conditioning unit.

Mrs Sevenster, who was home alone at the time with her daughter, said it was the fire alarm that woke her up.

“I can honestly say there was no scent of smoke I could smell,” she said.

Mrs Sevenster said her first reaction was to grab her daughter and run downstairs to figure out where the smoke was coming from.

“I had my phone in my hand at the time, but because it was new, I didn’t have any numbers on it,” she said.

“I ran down the street and yelled for help and three indigenous people jumped over their back fence and offered their assistance straight away.

“They each took turns to put out the fire while trying to keep myself and my child calm.”

Mrs Sevenster said by the time firefighters arrived, the top floor of the house was engulfed by flames.

“That is when you realise everything you have is gone,” she said.

Despite losing most of the contents of the house, firefighters managed to save Mrs Sevenster’s wedding rings and her great- grandmother’s necklace, a sentimental family heirloom.

The couple said it was the cheerful, uplifting spirits of their daughter that had kept them positive during the tough situation, as well as the ongoing generosity of the community.

“People we have never met have gone above and beyond to give more than you can imagine,” Mrs Sevenster said.

A six-year-old girl from the neighbourhood, who was unknown to the family, also generously gave them her pocket money.

The family are staying in BHP Billiton transitional accommodation, which is fully furnished and donated by the company.

BHP has also given them a storage unit for the goods they have received from the community until they are able to move into a permanent home once more.

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