BANDUK Bak and wife Nyapuka Nyuon may have lost everything in the fire that destroyed their Ellenbrook home on New Year’s Day, but they have not lost their smiles.
The couple had been celebrating the New Year with other family members just hours before they were woken up by a neighbour, who alerted them a fire had broken out at the front of the house.
Luckily, all 15 people inside the house escaped.
After the fire, the family were forced to relocate to Ridgewood.
But last week they were invited back to Ellenbrook for a special surprise.
“The firefighters called us and said they wanted to see us. So we came, and they presented us with a $1500 grant,” Mr Bak said.
“We didn’t know they were going to give us what they did; we are very grateful.”
Darlington Range acting district officer Mike Dilallo said it was rewarding to help a family in need.
“Watching them receive the burn-out grant was great,” he said.
“He wasn’t expecting it, he was gobsmacked. They were very humble and very happy.”
Mr Dilallo said burn-out grants were usually donated by local stations to those in the community who had been affected by fire.
“The grants are purely funded by firefighters and officers donating a portion of their wage,” he said.
“They are used to replace things like clothes, toys and school books, anything ruined by fire.”
The family moved from South Sudan to Perth nine years ago.
Mr Bak said he, his wife and six children have had to start all over again as they did not have insurance.
“The community has been very generous,” Mr Bak said.
“We are very lucky.
“We just want to give a word of thanks to the firefighters for all their hard work, and the community for what they have contributed.”
Mr Dilallo said the firefighters were just relieved no one was hurt.
“By nature, fireys are caring sort of people,” he said.
“Donating to the burn-out fund is optional, but I don’t know one firefighter who isn’t part of it.
“It really is fantastic to see.”