Fire razes Coast home

ALL that remains of Peter Swinton’s home after an electrical fire razed it to the ground. Photos supplied
  • 78-year-old loses home, truck and all his belongings

WAIHAU Bay resident Peter Swinton is devastated that he has lost all of his belongings, including his house and truck, in a house fire.

Seventy-eight-year-old Mr Swinton was visiting his sister in Te Kaha when the fire broke out, caused by an electrical fault.

Daughter Lois Swinton said her father has been left with nothing but the clothes on his back, as neither the house, nor its contents or the truck, which was parked in a carport adjacent to the house, were insured.

“He suffers from a lung disease and is reliant on oxygen every day,” she said.

“He is currently staying with a family friend not far from his section. He is not keen to move away from the area, even though I have invited to come and live with me at Te Puke.”

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Ms Swinton said she had been looking for a relocatable house that could be shifted on to his section, but the cost is horrendous.

“We found an old school house and office in Rotorua which we could buy for about $5000, but the cost to transport it to Waihau Bay is about $30,000. That’s way beyond his or our means.”

She said the people of Waihau Bay had been very supportive, dropping off meals and other items.

“That’s been very good, but Dad is quite uncomfortable about the handouts.

“I told him that it’s payback for all the help he has been to the people up there.

“He used to fix people’s mowers and other things. They would bring them to him and he would tinker around and get them going again.

“He has received a $200 clothing allowance from WINZ, but he has to pay that back.”

Ms Swinton said she would like to see his father be able to spend the final years of his life back at his home.

A givealittle page has been set up by good friend Te Paea Butler to raise some funds to help Mr Swinton.

“For the love of his land and his surroundings he wishes to spend his last years in no other place than on his own land in Waihau Bay with his four-legged best friend, his cow Shirley (not hurt in the fire)” wrote Mr Butler.

“Due to financial hardship and his emotional well-being and declining health Peter desperately needs our help from not only his own community but anyone else who is able.

“A small donation of $5 could help him well on his way to rebuilding on his land.

“He is a very generous person, who has helped many people of all walks of life in our community of Waihau Bay for many years.

“Funds raised will be used to replace his home and contents.” People can help Mr Swinton by going to the givealittle page .