A distressed Karen Mayall stands outside her Hunter Street home, which was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day.
A distressed Karen Mayall stands outside her Hunter Street home, which was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day blaze heartache

THE Ipswich community has offered a much-needed helping hand to a family whose house was gutted by fire on Christmas Day.

Karen Mayall said she was extremely grateful for the offers of assistance that had already come in since she lost her Hunter Street home on Saturday.

Ms Mayall and her partner Vic Leonard were forced to flee about 2.15am after an electrical surge started a blaze which consumed their rented home’s interior.

They were able to save their two chihuahua puppies and their kittens, but most of what they owned was destroyed.

Ms Mayall’s 15-year-old daughter Heidi Swan also lost most of her belongings.

Even worse, Mr Leonard suffered smoke inhalation after trying to fight the blaze with a garden hose and had to spend Christmas Day in hospital.

He is now recovering at a friend’s house, where he, Ms Mayall and Heidi will stay until they can get back on their feet.

The family has already been offered assistance from The Salvation Army, Ipswich Community Care Fund, River 94.9 and St Peter Claver College.

“I’m just so appreciative of what people have done for us, because we’re going to have to start from scratch,” Ms Mayall said.

“It goes to show there are good people in the community.

“It is going to take us a while to get over what has happened, but at the moment I’m just glad we have a roof over our heads.”

A Flinders View woman contacted The Queensland Times to offer a lounge chair and pedestal fans and an Ipswich man offered the family a TV.

Ms Mayall said any offers of furniture, clothing or essential items would be greatly appreciated.

The family can be contacted through The QT.

Anyone who wishes to make a donation of books and second-hand goods to the Ipswich Community Care Fund can do so by visiting the charity shop at Shop 16, Kruger Shopping Village, Redbank Plains or by phoning Joy White on 3288 2856 or Liz Curwen on 3389 2950.



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