Neighbours rush to help fire victim

Cathy Rann has been overwhelmed by the support of community members after her house was gutted by fire. Picture: Gabrielle Jeffery.
Cathy Rann has been overwhelmed by the support of community members after her house was gutted by fire. Picture: Gabrielle Jeffery.

It all began when, in a half-awake state, she fumbled for what she thought was her alarm going off.

It was not until she heard the frenzied scratching at her door by her three dogs ” a chihuahua and two staffys ” that it dawned on her it was not her alarm to get up at all.

The beeping was the high-pitched screech of the smoke alarm.

On Friday, July 4, Mrs Rann’s house was gutted by a blaze caused by an electrical fault.

‘When things like this happen everyone says things go in slow motion.

‘I got up and outside there was smoke everywhere, and flames floor to ceiling in height,’ she said.

‘I just stood there for what felt like 10 minutes trying to work out what to do. It must have been only 10 seconds because next thing I had the dogs and we were out the door.’

Mrs Rann said the fire took only three to four minutes to gut her home.

‘All I could do was stand outside in my pyjamas and watch,’ she said.

The help she received from neighbours she barely knew inspired her.

‘They were fantastic; the young couple with their baby who came out and helped,’ she said.

‘The lady across the road, Julie, was amazing. She took me in and gave me her socks, and a jacket and made me some tea.

‘I didn’t even know them. They were so giving and said to come over for anything I needed,’ Mrs Rann said.

The next day when she returned, her neighbour Julie came over with a care pack made up for her.

‘It had shampoo, a new toothbrush, perfume and another pair of socks. To have my own new toothbrush, it surprised me how great it felt. It was just like Christmas,’ she said.

Mrs Rann, although overwhelmed by the support of her neighbours, was not good at taking charity.

‘I’m not good at taking money, there are people worse off than me.

‘It’s hard to take money from strangers, let alone my family.’