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Kandanga home destroyed by fire

House fire at Kandanga Creek Road, Upper Kandanga.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times
House fire at Kandanga Creek Road, Upper Kandanga.Photo Patrick Woods / Gympie Times Patrick Woods

HELEN Garrett lost her son in a tragic accident four years ago, and now she has lost the former Upper Kandanga home he grew up in.

The corrugated iron exterior, charred timber skeleton and ruined metal appliances are all that remain after the fire destroyed the small house on Kandanga Creek Rd on Monday afternoon.

The blaze had engulfed the house and was unstoppable by the time firefighters arrived, but no-one was injured.

Ms Garrett had rented the house to tenants and now lives nearby.

The insurance won't be enough to pay off the mortgage, but Ms Garrett is adamant in seeking no charity.

"I was a single mum for many years and learned to make do," she said.

"Now we have to rebuild and that will help get the mortgage repaid.

"A lot of people have houses burn down and a lot of people lose children.

"I've just had both."

Ms Garrett has already leapt into action to make sure her tenants were not left homeless.

"We think we've found another house for our tenants, and we've found them some clothes in the Jake Garrett Foundation op shop," she said.

She started the Jake Garrett Foundation after her 12-year-old son Jake died in a ride-on mower accident in 2012.

The charity helps support other parents who have lost their children by paying their funeral costs, an expense many find heartbreakingly unaffordable.

She helped build the little house on the hill where she raised her children, Jake and April.

Now their childhood home is a mess of ash, broken glass and rubble.

Most parts of the house are inaccessible under a collapsed roof.

A few smoke-stained items of clothing hang on the washing line.

This house held strong memories of Jake for Ms Garrett.

She said he lived there for about seven or eight years before his death.

"(The fire) was the final disaster," she said.

"I just had Jake's four-year anniversary and then this happens."

While at least one friend is calling for a fundraiser to cover the costs of rebuilding, Ms Garrett is determined to recover and rebuild independently.

She asks that people wanting to donate instead support the Jake Garrett Foundation.

"We want the house to be our private business," she said.

"But we're not homeless.

"It would be a lot worse if it was our main house and we lived in it."

Investigators are working to determine the cause of the fire.

Gympie Times

Topics:  fire, helen garrett, house fire, jake garrett, kandanga




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