Rockingham homeless advocate devastated after fire

Rockingham homeless advocate devastated after fire

AFTER fire nearly destroyed his Port Kennedy home on Monday, Owen Farmer is grateful no one was hurt.

Mr Farmer is a passionate advocate for the homeless in Rockingham and Mandurah.

The fire caused an estimated $20,000 damage to the rear section of his home.

The cause of the fire was accidental and Mr Farmer was not insured.

The rear section of his home contains a sleep-out that has a room and a bed for anyone sleeping rough.

“I had been up at the partial and disabled veterans in Baldivis to collect rugs for the homeless that ladies from the pipe band had knitted for them and on my way home when I got the call,” he said.

“My house was on fire; I couldn’t believe it.

“I just thought ‘No it can’t be on fire’. My instinct was about my son’s dog Zara getting killed.”

Thankfully Zara was OK, but very shaken up.

It was then that he realised the true cost of the damage.

“I had a trailer load of furniture that was going to a family in Brookton to furnish their home, as they have just moved there for work,” he said.

“That’s all a blackened mess out on the front lawn now. But I was also just so lucky that no-one was in the sleep-out.

“It was just thick black smoke and it destroyed the new outdoor blinds I had just put up.”

Rockingham Fire and Rescue Services saved the main part of the house.

“The fire got so hot it broke windows but the firefighters managed to extinguish it before it got to the main part of the house,” Mr Farmer said.

“My biggest gratitude is to them. It’s ironic that I came home to almost being homeless myself.

“I’m just upset that I lost the stuff for my people that I help. Everyone has been so supportive.”

A Department of Fire and Emergency Spokeswoman said the fire was reported at 9.44am on Monday.

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