THE BEST WE CAN BE: Nina and Ricky Johnson are looking for a new home after the property they rented was severely damaged by fire early Saturday morning. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN
THE BEST WE CAN BE: Nina and Ricky Johnson are looking for a new home after the property they rented was severely damaged by fire early Saturday morning. PHOTO: ADAM HOURIGAN

Rally for family hit by fire

THEY walked away with nothing but the clothes on their backs and a few family photos.

But the Johnson family, who lost everything when their rented Fanning Ave home was gutted by fire at the weekend, will stand strong with the support of the Grafton community behind them.

Nina Johnson was yesterday still grieving over the loss of her home.

"We're getting there and we're the best we can be," Mrs Johnson said.

"All the help from the community has been really good."

The family has been staying with friends while they try to find a new place to live. With three growing boys needing space Mrs Johnson said the ideal would be a four- bedroom home, with a bath. "I haven't had a bath in years and I would love to, after all this, just relax," she laughed.

Mrs Johnson was thankful she had listened to the advice of her eldest sister and insured the home.

"We had home and contents insurance. My sister always used to tell me to get it and now I'm glad I listened to her," she said.

But until a payment comes through the family will have to budget and Mrs Johnson said it was unlikely they could afford more than $300 a week in rent. Her three sons, Brent, Shayne and Harley, were all left without clothing or school uniforms.

"I sent them to school today so they could be near their friends, but they're a bit distraught and it just breaks your heart seeing them like that," Mrs Johnson said.

To make matters worse the property had asbestos in the walls so any items which could be salvaged were contaminated.

Friends involved with the Riverside Church have organised an appeal for clothing and the family needs school uniforms for Westlawn Public and Grafton High.

Real estate agents with an appropriate listings can phone Mrs Johnson's sister, Therese Bartrim, on 0488 149 220.

The cause of the fire, which happened in the early hours of Saturday morning, was being investigated.

The Johnsons were not home at the time.



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