Major Keith Cook from Maryborough’s Salvation Army lends a helping hand to Ricky Walker and Billeena Chapman.
Major Keith Cook from Maryborough’s Salvation Army lends a helping hand to Ricky Walker and Billeena Chapman.

Locals help Tiaro family rebuild

THEIR beds still felt strange last night but they were ever so welcome.

The Tiaro family that lost everything in a house fire on Tuesday has spent two nights in a motel, thanks to Maryborough’s Salvation Army.

Major Keith Cook said the charity organisation had paid for the temporary accommodation so the family could stay together while mum and dad, Ricky Walker and Billeena Chapman, started rebuilding their lives.

Their uninsured timber home in Copenhagen Street, Tiaro, was destroyed within minutes when fire broke out in the laundry about 12.30pm. Ms Chapman and two of the five children narrowly escaped the blaze while the other three were at school and Mr Walker at work.

The couple visited Centrelink and the Salvation Army in Maryborough yesterday.

Mr Walker said he bought the house about three years ago and had intended to have it insured in the near future.

“Talk about Murphy’s Law ... I was on the way to get it done.”

Insulation had been installed on Tuesday, just hours before the home was destroyed.

The couple planned to visit real estate agencies yesterday to find accommodation, preferably in Tiaro.

Meanwhile, the Fraser Coast and Gympie communities have rallied to support them with offers of food vouchers, clothes, furniture and a washing machine.

Michelle Deacon from Castle Hampers, from whom Ms Chapman had bought Christmas food and toy hampers, paid for throughout the year, has offered to replace what had just been delivered. But the couple has no means to transport the goods and, until they find new accommodation, nowhere to store them.

They own a small sedan that won’t seat seven people and an eight-seater wagon that doesn’t work stored at a relative’s house.

Anyone wanting to help can call their neighbour, Nadia, on 4129 2527 or the Chronicle on 4120 1051 and speak to editor Peter Chapman.



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