Family lose everything

Firefighters attending to the fire.

A Woodstock family lost their double-storey home in a fire last Wednesday morning, June 10.

According to the City’s Fire and Rescue Service spokesman, Jermaine Carelse, the call came in at 2am, and three fire engines, a rescue vehicle and 20 firefighters were sent to battle the blaze in Warwick Street.

“The entire dwelling was destroyed in the fire, and the fire was extinguished around 5.35am,” he said.

Stefan and Vivienne Blank-Thomet escaped from the house with their three children, said Stefan’s brother, Markus Blank.

“Nobody knows how the fire started; the family was sleeping, and, at around 2am, the smoke alarm went off,” he said.

According to Mr Blank, his brother, who owns Blank Books in Woodstock, ran downstairs to fetch the 4-year-old twins, Wolfe and Luna and exited through the back door as flames had already engulfed the front entrance.

Ms Blank-Thomet and their 8-year-old daughter, Winter, escaped through the top window.

Mr Blank said his sister-in-law and his niece had sustained minor injuries and had been sent to Vincent Pallotti hospital.

Mr Blank said the fire had been devastating for the family.

“They lost everything, including their clothing, identity documents, wallets, family pictures, computers and even their white VW Polo was destroyed in the fire,” he said.

Their cat, Whisper, also went missing during the fire and has not been found.

Mr Blank said his brother and family would be staying with him in Brooklyn, while they waited for the household insurance to settle their claim.

Mr Blank praised neighbours who had helped the family, especially as they had needed to climb over the back wall to get away from their burning home.

Neighbour Quasheef Abader said his daughter had woken him and his wife to alert them to the fire next door.

“We looked out the window and saw the flames on the house,” he said.

Mr Abader said another neighbour had helped the family climb over the fence into their yard.

“The family waited with us until the paramedics arrived,” he said.

Mr Abader took Mr Blank-Thomet and the twins to Mr Blank-Thomet’s brother in Brooklyn, while Ms Blank-Thomet and her daughter went to the hospital.

Neighbours dropped off clothing at Mr Abader’s home for the Blank-Thomet family.

Mr Carelse said the cause of the fire was still unknown.

Meanwhile, a Backabuddy account has also been set up by family friend, Anna Scott, to help the family.