Community opens hearts after house fire

An Albion Park family who lost everything in a fire this week has been given some early Christmas cheer thanks to the generosity of strangers.

Tanya Whitford, her partner Eric, and their children Joshua, Jarred and Jaxon escaped with their lives but nothing else when a fire ripped through their home on Monday.

Five days later, they have been overwhelmed by support from the community.

Now staying with a family member in Albion Park, the phone has barely stopped ringing with offers of help.

The KidzWish Foundation yesterday donated a new laptop for Joshua, an iPod for Jarred and a Thomas the Tank Engine set to a delighted Jaxon - replacing three Christmas presents destroyed in the blaze.

Other toys and presents have been hidden away for Christmas time.

"To say 'thank you' is not enough," Ms Whitford said.

"What do you say to people who have given the children Christmas?

"To say 'thank you' 100 times over still wouldn't be enough to repay them.

"Joshua has started to have tears in his eyes, that's my 16-year-old with the laptop, and my nine-year-old Jarred is running around saying 'I love this day', and little Jackson was shaking when he saw Thomas.

"Someone donated children's beds ... and one lady donated Thomas toys that she was going to give her kids for Christmas, and she gave them to a charity to give to us.

"We had a couple of guys here before drop off a fridge, more clothes, food, a dining table, just so much."

KidzWish Foundation executive director Chris Beaven said she hoped the gifts would help get the children through the loss of their home. The family is still coming to terms with the loss of their possessions, which were not covered by insurance.

Ms Whitford cried when she returned to the property this week and saw the children's room without a roof.

The remains of the house were still too dangerous to enter, even just to search for keepsakes.

Eric said he hoped the Housing NSW home could be rebuilt and the family could move back in.

"There's a lot of memories there," he said.

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