Fire victim loses home, treasured items

Ms Main was working at her clothing store when a neighbour rang on Christmas Eve to alert her.

She returned in time to see firefighters battling to contain the blaze that started in her front yard.

Other than a few items in two bedrooms, Ms Main’s personal items, garden, furniture, some $60,000 worth of shop stock and overall building structure were destroyed.

WA Police said the arson squad found the fire was not suspicious and was started by an “undetermined cause”.

The building was not insured.

Speaking to the Eastern Reporter from the ruins of her home, the 61-year-old said so far six skip bins of rubble had been collected, including smashed furniture.

“I was closing my Forrestfield shop down, so for three weeks I’d been bringing stuff home… the big pine bar, big glass-pine jewellery cabinet, some dummies and inside the house were masses of clothes in plastic tubs… most of it’s ruined,” she said.

“All my personal stuff is gone: dinner sets, tea sets, fancy glasses that I’d been collecting for 45 years.

“Every day is upsetting.”

She said a single drawer in a pine dresser survived, which contained all the cards and letters received from her daughter, who died from cancer. But many of her pictures of her daughter were destroyed.

Ms Main, who is staying at her sister-in-law’s house, has not traded since the fire and her remaining stock is in a sea container.

“I hadn’t had the house insured for a few years; I let it go when my daughter was dying from cancer. I was looking after her kids, feeding them, and I couldn’t afford it,” she said.

“I tried to renew it but because I said I was keeping stock from my business in my house, no one would insure me.”

She said 15 volunteers from Shalom House had come in to lend a hand when she was at a “pretty low point”.

“Shalom House has been amazing; teams of guys have been coming in, tradies are organised to come in, a builder came out,” she said.

But to add to her pain, the remains of her property have been looted three times.

Ms Main said while a small amount of funds had been raised through music gigs, she needed people’s help through donations so she could start to rebuild.

To donate, go to website My Cause and search “The Julie Main Christmas Eve Fire Appeal”.        

Toyah Shakespeare