News

Family devastated after fire tears through their Mooroopna home

By Liz Mellino

The members of a Mooroopna family have been left without a roof over their heads after fire tore through their home on Monday afternoon.

The Zammit family were forced to flee their Gange St home about 1.40pm on Monday, as flames quickly engulfed the single-storey weatherboard property.

Kirsten and Jade Zammit watched helplessly from the footpath as the blaze spread inside the home, causing significant damage to the structure and leaving a trail of smoke damage in every room.

While the family of five are devastated that majority of their personal belongings have gone up in flames, Mrs Zammit said they were grateful to have made it out alive.

“We can buy things again, we can get things again, but we can't replace ourselves,” she said.

“There are no words — you literally sit back and watch everything you own go into flames and you can't do anything.

“It took us years to get us this house as it was ... and we walked out with the clothes on our backs and that’s all we've got.”

Mrs Zammit said the fire started in the children's bedroom at the back of the property.

Within eight minutes of making the horrific call to triple zero, fire crews arrived and worked quickly to bring the blaze under control.

Mr Zammit suffered burns and smoke inhalation while the family were fleeing the house, with fire crews and Ambulance Victoria paramedics assessing him at the scene.

“You can never thank the firies enough, they literally were here in under a heartbeat, it was amazing. They extinguished the fire and told us everything — they even went in and grabbed any medications and anything they could,” Mr Zammit said.

“They came over and supported us — they did an amazing job.”

Jade Zammit consoling his son Jason, 6, outside their Gange St, Mooroopna home, which was destroyed by fire on Monday afternoon.

Following the blaze, Mrs Zammit's boss, Loretta Meredith, established a GoFundMe page to help support the family over the coming months as they piece their life back together.

With a goal of $10,000, the page had raised more than $700 in less than 24 hours, with donations flooding in from friends and community members across Greater Shepparton.

“I have a family and I'd hope someone would do the same thing for me — it's the least I could do for them all,” Ms Meredith said.

The family agreed the support they had received straight after the fire had been amazing, with the community rallying behind them.

“Everyone that has been reaching out has been more than fantastic — our next-door neighbours just came over and helped us out with some food and clothes,” Mr Zammit said.

“The GoFundMe has already helped immensely — it's amazing so many people have already reached out.”

The Zammits managed to secure emergency accommodation at a caravan park in Mooroopna through Beyond Housing for the next week; however, they are uncertain where they will live after that.

It's a worry most parents would never wish to face; however, for this local family it's now their reality.

The Zammits are also dealing with the added concern of their son Jason's special needs, with his sensory equipment and therapy items destroyed in the blaze.

While they admit they have never been ones to ask for help, they said they had been left with no other option.

“Even if there is someone with a private rental available — we're not picky, we just need a roof, we just need stability,” Mrs Zammit said.

“Jason's special needs means he needs routine, without that routine it falls apart all too easily.”

The Zammits are now living day-to-day in a bid to get that routine back and get on with some sense of normality.

Mr Zammit said they would fight to remain positive during what he described as "trying times".

“Nine-and-a-half years destroyed in eight minutes — it hurts,” Mr Zammit said.

“It kills, it really does, but the only thing we can do is stay strong, because otherwise the kids will suffer more.”

To donate to the Zammit family, visit https://gf.me/u/yitsc8