By Shelby Brooks
A family of five is lucky to have escaped unharmed after a generator exploded at their Cockatoo property, destroying their home in the ensuing blaze.
Simone and Michael Plunkett and their three children had been relying on a generator since Friday 29 October after damaging storms left them without power.
Speaking on behalf of the family, close friend Emma Prescott said they believed the generator exploded, causing a fire which quickly tore through the family’s home on Moola Road.
“They had just come back from getting take away for dinner and were sitting outside on the deck when the generator blew up,” Emma said.
“It had only been refilled that day.”
A spokesperson for the CFA said crews were called to the scene around 6.30pm Tuesday 3 November to find the house fully engulfed.
Nine CFA vehicles attended the scene with support from FRV and was declared under control around 7pm.
Emma said the family had not been able to salvage anything from the wreck.
“The fire got up into the roof and ceiling. Not every room had fire damage, but everything inside is black from smoke or destroyed by water damage,” Emma said.
Simone and Michael have lived in Cockatoo for about five years and have been actively involved in the wider community through the kindergarten and primary school.
Almost $10,000 has been raised for the Plunkett family through a Facebook fundraiser set up by Emma and another close friend Hannah Kelly.
“We just wanted to do something to help,” Emma said.
“Simone and Michael are the first people to put their hands up to help other people.
“In this sort of scenario, there’s not much else we can do to help. They don’t have a home for us to send flowers to. They’re in temporary accommodation so we can’t overwhelm them with buying new possessions yet.”
Emma said despite the tragedy, Simone and Michael were just grateful no one was hurt.
“They’re staying pretty positive. Simone has said at least everyone was safe. Possessions can be bought and photos reprinted from digital copies,” Emma said.
“Simone and Michael are overwhelmed by the support, especially because they understand people have been going through hard times with Covid-19 as well as the storms.”
Many homes in Cockatoo are still without power, which Emma said added to the community’s distress.
“We’re all on generators still so it does feel like this could have happened to anyone,” Emma said.
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