Homeless at Christmas
Tuesday, 22nd December, 2015
By Darrin Manuel
A Wilcannia couple is facing a bleak Christmas after losing everything in a house fire.
Kiraley Billing and Tim Quayle scrambled to safety with their daughter Kirra on Sunday after their house in Adam Street caught alight in the late afternoon.
Kiraley’s father, Jamie Billing, said it was not known how the fire started although police said yesterday that it might have been due to a combination of the hot weather and problems with Christmas lights or the hot water system.
“They were in their lounge room when a neighbour came across and asked them why there was so much smoke coming from the house,” he said.
“They had a look and they realised the back of the house was on fire.”
Although everyone escaped safely, the family’s possessions were almost all destroyed in the blaze and subsequent firefighting efforts.
“Pretty much everything was lost. I’d just done all their shopping and brought it to them,” said Jamie.
“And they had all their Christmas presents in there. They’ve got a seven-month-old baby and it’s her first Christmas.”
Jamie said the timing of the fire was “unfortunate” but added that the family was coping as best they could.
“They’re quite upset but they’re quite a resilient couple, especially my daughter.
“She’s had a lot of hardship in her life. She lost her mother and grandmother in the same year a few years back.
“But they’re trying to stay positive and deal with things, and a lot of people in Wilcannia have been helping them.”
The family will now be staying with Tim’s parents until emergency housing can be arranged.
In the meantime, people from all over the district have been donating in an effort to help get the couple back on their feet.
Jamie said clothes and furniture had been given, while businesses in Wilcannia had also helped out with supplies and essentials.
Anyone wishing to offer support can contact Jamie Billing on facebook, or make a donation at https://www.gofundme.com/pcfrr9s4