Fire ravaged family say thank you for support

The Welgelegen family who lost most of their possessions in a fire that ravaged their home said they are grateful for the outpouring of support from good Samaritans.

Michael and Leigh Elvidge said their house caught alight on Thursday June 29, around noon, while they were both at work.

The house at 42 Kehrwieder Crescent in Welgelegen burnt quickly and by the time the family arrived on the scene, most of the damage had been done.

A white cross, with the family’s surname on it, stood stoic in the aftermath of the blaze and Ms Elvidge believes it was a sign of protection from God.

Theo Layne, spokesman for the City’s Fire and Rescue Service, said the probable cause of the fire was an electrical short circuit.

Mr Layne said no injuries were reported and 14 firefighters from Goodwood and Milnerton fire stations took about one and a half hours to extinguish the fire.

“The dwelling sustained significant damage to the three rear bedrooms and the sauna room. The roof at the rear end had also collapsed,” he said.

“When I got the call to say our house was on fire I dropped everything and drove home. A few of the neighbours called the fire department and when I got there my first reaction was to find out if the children and three dogs were okay. The street was full of people and it was absolute pandemonium. The crescent was cordoned off as firefighters tried to calm the blaze,” said Mr Elvidge.

His mother Rose said after the fire was put out, the community helped to salvage what they could from the house.

“Everything was clumped in the driveway and it took us about four hours to sort through the charred and soot-covered items.”

Mr Elvidge said neighbours brought bubble-wrap and boxes to transport their possessions.

“Nearly 20 packers helped us and half of them were teenagers who heard about the fire through WhatsApp. A neighbour became emotional as he was astounded at how the youth stepped up to help us,” he said.

The couple, their two children, aged 14 and 16, and three dogs are rebuilding their lives at Mr Elvidge’s mother’s home in Monte Vista.

Ms Elvidge said she was overwhelmed by the support of the community and swift action of the City’s Fire and Rescue team.

She thanked the residents of Panorama, Welgelegen, Plattekloof, Kleinbosch, Monte Vista and the various neighbourhood watches as well as the Plattekloof, Welgelegen and Panorama Neighbourhood Watch (PWP) .

“We could not be more blessed. We had cooked food delivered to us almost every day and money put in our hands by complete strangers. We have experienced an immense amount of generosity.”

The family had been staying in Kehrwieder Crescent for close to 13 years.

“We were renting the property and the owner and assessors have already been to the house to view the damage. We will soon begin our search for another house to rent,” said Mr Elvidge.

“Thank you for opening your hearts, cupboards and pockets to bless us. We appreciate every garment, SMS, phone call and prayer,” he said.