Cats killed in house fire

The inside of this Half Moon Bay home was gutted when a fire broke out in the lounge. Photo supplied Tony Atina

An online fundraising page has been set up to help a family whose east Auckland home was destroyed in a fire.

The blaze at the property in Clyside Avenue, Half Moon Bay, was reported to emergency services at about 7.17am on November 20.

Howick fire station officer Oswald van Beerendonk says the home was “fully involved” in fire when his crew arrived at the scene.

Upon arrival they established no one was inside the property.

There were two adults at the home and neither was injured in the incident, he says.

He says the fire appears to have been caused by an overheating multi-plug behind a television in the lounge.

The home had working smoke alarms, which alerted its occupants to the fire.

“The fire spread throughout the whole house,” van Beerendonk says.

“It spread through the place very fast. Everything was destroyed.”

Van Beerendonk says he understands the people living at the property ran a cat re-homing service.

A Givealittle fundraising page was set up the following day for the people living at the home, described by the page as a “kitten foster mum” who has “lost everything” in the blaze.

The page was created by Stephanie Redhill, who says she’s close friends with the house’s occupants.

A number of cats were saved from the fire but Redhill says five died.

“She called me at the time and I raced over to her,” she says.

“It was horrific to see and my heart broke for them.”

The outside of the home gives an indication of how bad the blaze was inside. Times photo Wayne Martin

The Givealittle page asks people to “help an amazing family get back on their feet and to give them a new home for Christmas”.

“Our worst nightmare came true when one of my closest friends and fellow kitten foster mums lost everything in an all-engulfing house fire yesterday morning.

“She barely made it out in time, escaping with just the clothes on their backs and now they need to start again and rebuild their lives.

“This close to Christmas makes it feel even more cruel. They have nothing left.

“Precious memories and keepsakes lost.”

The page says a fire inspector needs to give the all-clear before anyone can try to sift through the ash and sludge to find any salvageable belongings.

“What’s more is the effort she went to to make sure her foster kittens got out too.

“With barely minutes to gather anything she could, they escaped and ran straight to the sliding door of her foster room to break the window so the cats and kittens could escape to safety.”

Money raised by the page will be used to replace lost household items, “everything from toothbrushes to whiteware and furniture”.

Van Beerendonk says while the multi-board that appears to have started the fire was not overloaded, he asks people to not overload plug boards in their homes and to turn off electric appliances when they aren’t being used.

To donate via Givealittle go to Stephanie Redhill’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/stephanie.redhill