Last night word came in that NZCS member Yves Simard has lost his family home to a massive fire but thankfully all family members are safe and staying with friends.
NZCS has offered what help it can on behalf of members but if you want to contribute there is a link for donations at http://cinescopophilia.com/please-help-our-dear-friend-crewstv-recover-from-a-house-fire/
News of the fire was posted at this news site http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/6163535/House-gutted-by-blaze-days-before-Christmas
“Michelle and I are overwhelmed with the generosity and the speed at which it all has happened. We are beyond words and are truly blessed to be surrounded with amazing communities made up of people whom have humbled us in ways we never knew possible.
Our kids are safe. At first a bit traumatized but now things are settling in. They are around people that love them very much and they know it. They have truly lost all their possessions. Quaily and I managed to recover their dress-up box. Their imaginary world was saved and I can’t wait to show it to them tomorrow. But literally all they had was the swimming suits they had on and wore to bed, I have no idea what that must be like for them. But kids don’t need much and the boxes of clothes, toys and games that arrived the next day created a Christmas like atmosphere last night that warmed my heart because I could never have been able to do that on my own. They sang and laughed themselves to sleep. Thank you, today that has been my greatest gift. I have so many people to thank.. too many.. I have no idea where to start.
Michelle who was alone when the fire started was amazing, got the kids out, went back in to save the computer with the family photos. Even tried to fight it off and shouted at the firemen to hurry as she battled the flames with the garden hose, even when all hope was lost. She never gave up, she thinks she failed but through all of this, she is the real hero. She, my kids, my family are safe today because of her.
The fire is most likely electrical. Started in the back bedroom through the ceiling. Rodents perhaps.. unknown. The firemen were there quickly but it was massive. In 10 minutes it was completely out of control, in 15 It was an inferno. It was clear everything would be lost.
We have insurance, replacement for the house. Our contents will be adequate to start over. My camera gear was in the garage which is untouched, a blessing because it was not fully insured at the time. My Ford Falcon was saved for those of you who are concerned.
Right now, we are looking for somewhere to live. We have had many offers from people going away on holiday so our timing is pretty good. We hope to sort ourselves out and get our bearings, knowing that NZ will shut over the weeks to come. Presumably we will need to set up a rental house. Then look at our long term options from there.
People keep asking us how to help. I have diverted much to the people around me for the time being.
Nick Treacy has helped us heaps but has been overwhelmed. I dont have time to take calls but between us we tend to get to text messages ok.
Sioux at FilmCREWS has been amazing in getting a list going of what is needed and who is offering what, i think this will be critical when we move into a flat. So any excess white ware or beds would be good, later on.
We are getting some clothes to get started and I have no idea where we are but currently I have no where to put them or sort them, concerned about being overwhelmed, so someone helping us co-ordinate that would be great as I would feel awful taking too much knowing that others need it elsewhere.
Titirangi Primary School have set up drop off points and are running a fund through the community. All of our neighbors are involved, its pretty awesome to see.
The Cinematographers Society, through Kevin sorted us out in a very generous last night. This emergency relief is extremely needed and welcome. I thank my colleagues.
Ruth and Sage are driving something at TVNZ, I have no idea they won’t tell me but it was great to see the kids with some cuddly toys last night and seeing them wake up with them this morning.
Greg the VisionWrangler, whom I only know on Twitter set up a website for people to donate has completely blown me away. Messages of support and donations from people I have never met has truly humbled me. For some, it has been the only way to help, including our families who are overseas and helpless. Its been amazing and reminds me quite simply that we are not alone and right now.. its been the most important thing. In life, I guess that is all that matters and we are absolutely truly blessed.
These are just the broad strokes, there is so much more going on. I just wanted to take a minute and thank you all.
Today they want to demo the house as its a danger and they have a security guard making sure nobody goes in. Put its just bricks and mortar and the stuff inside was just stuff. A home is the people in your life and the community that surround you and we have that. So we will be ok.
New Zealand has had our hearts for a long time. The silver fern represents new beginnings, this is our new beginning.
The real hidden tragedy here is our friend Claudia was staying with us. She moved back to NZ from Chile with her daughters Chloe and Chanelle. They came here to start a new life with only a few suitcases. She started a cleaning business and in the fire lost everything. Two days earlier she had bought a brand new industrial vacuum. Its all gone. Passports, clothes, wallet even the keys to her car. She is staying with Ruth our neighbor and getting into a house soon so I have no idea what they are doing just yet. I dont know what arrangements are being made for them but i will post when I can as soon as I know more. They seem ok but any overflow will go to them. Ruth and Delwin our neighbor have been so helpful, put them in a furnished house and got heaps of donations from the community. They will be ok.
Thank you, love you all.”
Yves Simard – NZCS Full Member