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Vicki picks up pieces of life after house fire

STARTING OVER: Disability pensioner Vicki Erickson moved to Gympie two years ago from South Australia and has been besieged by bad luck. Her granny flat on her daughter’s rented property was lost to a fire late last month and the pensioner also faces surgery to treat a recently diagnosed brain aneurism. With little to her name, Vicki is desperate for help. Vicki is pictured above clutching a partially burnt clown made by her sister Raelene Gray, who died 15 years ago.
STARTING OVER: Disability pensioner Vicki Erickson moved to Gympie two years ago from South Australia and has been besieged by bad luck. Her granny flat on her daughter’s rented property was lost to a fire late last month and the pensioner also faces surgery to treat a recently diagnosed brain aneurism. With little to her name, Vicki is desperate for help. Vicki is pictured above clutching a partially burnt clown made by her sister Raelene Gray, who died 15 years ago.

PIE CREEK disability pensioner Vicki Erickson is having the worst streak of bad luck in her life.

A house fire late last month destroyed the granny flat Ms Erickson, 56, was renting on her daughter's Pie Creek rented property.

The cause of the fire appears electrical and while investigations continue, all the pensioner wants right now is to get back on her feet.

Compounding the anguish of the fire is that Ms Erickson has been diagnosed with a brain aneurism and is awaiting surgery that she is delaying until after Christmas "just in case".

"I want to be here for Christmas with my family," Ms Erickson said.

The 10 months of bad luck before the fire included $500 in failed car repairs, the death of a pet cat that left her with a $1200 vet bill and a damaged spare tyre after an encounter with a nail.

But the fire landed the biggest blow - financially and emotionally.

Ms Erickson had gone Christmas shopping on October 30 at 1.35pm, moments before the fire.

UP IN FLAMES: Last month’s fire engulfed Vicki Erickson’s granny flat so quickly nothing could be done.
UP IN FLAMES: Last month’s fire engulfed Vicki Erickson’s granny flat so quickly nothing could be done.

Her son-in-law heard a smoke alarm sounding off and raced outside thinking it was a neighbour's property. Instead, he was confronted with the sight of the granny flat fully ablaze.

Everything the pensioner owned was lost, leaving her with just the clothes on her back.

Everyday household items were lost, but more precious items went up in flames as well, including items belonging to her mother who died nearly three years ago.

Ms Erickson is now sleeping on her daughter's couch. "You don't realise what you have until it's all gone," Ms Erickson said.

The granny flat was covered by insurance and the landlord intends to rebuild.

Ms Erickson hopes she will be able to move back in but not having contents insurance has left her vulnerable.

"I couldn't afford the insurance," she said.

Ms Erickson has had offers of furniture and other items but having nowhere to store them, said what she really needed was money.

"I just need to be able to get practical things until I can have my own home again."

ALL GONE: Vicki Erickson’s granny flat on her daughter’s rented property at Pie Creek is now just a charred shell.
ALL GONE: Vicki Erickson’s granny flat on her daughter’s rented property at Pie Creek is now just a charred shell.

Ms Erickson's daughter Carmen Harratt, who lives in Adelaide, has set up a Go Fund Me campaign online to help her mother.

"I have to have a sense of humour and be positive because what is the alternative?" Ms Erickson said.

"It is either that or curl up and die, and I'm not about to do that."

Gympie Times

Topics:  fire, gympie



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