Community rallies behind family

Vasco residents have rallied around a family whose Riebeeck Street home was destroyed by fire on Valentine’s Day.

Homeowner Vaughn Gallant said the community’s support had lifted his spirits and made the whole ordeal bearable.

The fire started in a front room on Tuesday February 14 and spread quickly, gutting the inside and parts of the roof.

What wasn’t damaged by the flames, got wet as firefighters battled the blaze.

“The whole house is gone. There’s nothing really we could save. There’s no point,” said Mr Gallant last week.

The family, which includes Mr Gallant’s two children, aged four and nine; his wife and her three siblings, aged nine, 14 and 18, have moved to Salt River to live with Mr Gallant’s brother while he’s dealing with the insurance to repair the house.

The children, who attend JG Meiring High and Goodwood Park Primary schools, had been traumatised by seeing their home destroyed, said Mr Gallant.

The couple had gone to celebrate Valentine’s Day at a nearby mall when they got the call just before 7pm that the house was on fire.

They raced back to find “chaos” in their street.

“I came to terms that the house is gone, but I wanted to know where the kids were,” he said.

Neighbours had kept the children out of harm’s way and later supported the family with donations.

The family moved into their home two years ago. Mr Gallant said he did not know all the neighbours that well, but that hadn’t stopped everyone from coming to the family’s aid.

“I want to say thank you. I don’t know everybody that well. They’re just pouring their hearts out to us,” he said.

The Northern Goodwood Cricket Club, of which Mr Gallant is a member, local churches and the mosque also helped the family.

Fire and Rescue spokesperson Theo Layne said it had taken 14 firefighters from Goodwood and Epping 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze.

The cause of the fire had not been determined. No one was injured but the house had been condemned.

“The entire structure and contents were severely damaged by the fire. The building sustained severe structural damage and was declared unsafe by the structural engineer,” said Mr Layne.