LINDA BARRETT AND HER DAUGHTERS are rebuilding their Glenhaven home with the help of family and friends after it was virtually destroyed by a kitchen fire last week.
The late-night blaze on Tuesday, September 29 at the Glenhaven Rd home is a lesson in resilience for the single mum and her teenage daughters, Ella, 18, Lara, 16 and Sian, 13 who escaped unhurt with their dogs, Rocky and Reggie.
Linda said the fire took hold in minutes. “I had gone to bed and my 18-year-old and 13-year-old were asleep. Lara was hungry and decided to cook herself some chips.
“She got a deep-based pan with oil in it, put a lid on the pan and walked over to the fridge to get the frozen chips. When she got back and lifted the lid the oil was so hot it just ignited immediately.
“Fortunately, she jumped back and didn’t get covered by oil, she rushed to my bedroom screaming and woke me. I got the fire blanket out and threw it over the pan but by then the flames had been drawn up through the rangehood which she had turned on, reached the ceiling and fire was spreading through the roof.”
“My girls just grabbed the dogs and we ran out. It happened so quickly, within minutes. The construction of the house and the ducted air-conditioning just sucked up the fire and dragged it along the entire top floor of the house.
The emergency call just after 11.15pm was answered by Fire and Rescue units.
There were 40 firefighters who spent nearly three hours at the site.
Linda said it wasn’t until the next day when she reached out to the insurance company that she realised, to her absolute horror, that the house and contents were not insured. The monthly house insurance premium she thought she was paying was, in fact, a second car insurance premium that she thought she had let lapse. “We have had a lot of challenges in the last little while and I took my eye off the ball,” she said.
A vocational trainer and teacher with TAFE and the Australian Retailers Association, Linda also runs a business called Bintage selling furniture and chair covers at markets.
She said she is grateful to the fire crews that came on the night and the SES volunteers who came later and tarped the roof of her house. She is also immensely grateful to friends, family and to the many total strangers who have come to her family’s aid since the fire.
She said her daughter’s schools Marian Catholic College and Lorien Novalis have been really supportive along with friends who had taken them in.
“Thank you to my beautiful step-daughter Natalie for setting up a fund raiser to help us recover and thanks to God for our lives and for sending me the resilience to get through these next months”.
“I want to teach my girls resilience so now I’ve been given the chance to give them a real-life example of how to rebuild after adversity.”
The rebuild will take about a year and Linda plans to document it Day by Day in a blog called Rebuilding 102 on her Facebook page.
The Linda Barrett Fire fundraising page Natalie set up is at: www.mycause.com.au/page/237077/lindabarrett-house-fire?fbclid=IwAR1h56Sy9wu8AhXQYw sz_LKWlLLjUa1FBYQaVc0BeuEsv6EZSOvDY1VCEm