Overwhelmed by public support

Fire victim Martin Torode has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people in the Hills. Photo: Julian Wright
Fire victim Martin Torode has been overwhelmed by the generosity of people in the Hills. Photo: Julian Wright

Mr Torode had minutes to vacate his Glenville Road home in Stoneville on January 12 after getting an alert text message from DFES, hearing the helitacs flying above and his neighbour calling for him to get out.

He had just enough time to grab photo albums and a suitcase of clothes for himself, his wife and two children, who were visiting family in Singapore at the time, and flee.

The next he heard about his home was that it was gone.

Mr Torode said he dropped in to De Haan Realty to see if there were any rentals available and was immediately offered a free rental in Guildford by licensee Nathalie de Haan.

Mr Torode said he was grateful to have a house to live in, but was overwhelmed with how much effort was made to make him and his family comfortable.

‘I saw the place before I moved in and it was empty, when I came back to move in, it was full,’ he said. ‘It had been set up with clothes, furniture, the beds were made with clean linen, the fridge had food in it and there were even toys for my kids.

‘I am just flabbergasted by the support, even at the Browns Park Centre that was set up for all the victims when the fires were happening.’

Mr Torode, originally from England, said this year’s Australia Day meant more to him than previous years.

Ms de Haan, who owns the Guildford villa, said she felt compelled to help someone in need.

‘When he told me that he had lost everything it just hit me,’ she said.

‘I felt so sorry and felt that I just had to step in; I put a post on Facebook and friends from everywhere pitched in. It was so good to see compassion from other people.’