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Jessica Blackwell finds hope in the community’s overwhelming response to help others in need.

Hope in the hills

By Claire Ottaviano

A HOUSE full of memories reduced to about the size of a skip bin has not diminished the spirits of one Tilden Park resident who says the Perth Hills community is rallying to help fill the void.

Quenda Glade resident Jessica Blackwell said there was nothing that could have been done to save her house from last month’s “freak” fire that left a trail of destruction from Wooroloo to Gidgegannup and beyond.

“My fire plan was always to leave,” she said.

“I grabbed our document wallet and my purse, I said to my son grab your two favourite toys and that was it.

“I look back and I think, I wish I’d grab this and that but in the same situation again I don’t think I would have done anything differently because safety and human life was more important.”

Although the house is gone, the shed where she runs her business Equestricare survived, giving her and her son a place to live.

“We thought it might come through but the house would be safe because it isn’t near anything, there are no trees anywhere near it,” she said.

“My BAL rating is completely up to date, my whole place is a fire break, there’s nothing really I could have done.

“This was a freak fire.”

Even before the dust had settled, support services were already standing by to lend a hand.

“The community has been amazing, especially the Country Women’s Association,” she said.

“They fed us for the first two weeks and got school bags and stuff like that.

“People have been donating hay and horse feed with the Pony Club coordinating.”

As well as delivering produce to those in need, Brian from Noble Falls Tavern has also  hosted weekly catchups.

“When you’re here, you feel like you’re doing it alone,” Ms Blackwell said.

“When you get to the pub and see everyone else, it’s horrible because it isn’t just you, but then also you feel like you’ve got support and people know what you’re going through.”

From Sims Metal providing free skip bins, to Horseland Midland providing horse feed, Zia Park Equestrian free horse agistment and CDI energy who swooped in with a large solar panel system to power Ms Blackwell’s shed, the list of local community contributions goes on.

“Even at the [Percy Cullen Oval] Community Recovery Centre, they got that up pretty quickly and they had community services like the Salvos and groups who had instant cash that you could use to go out and buy what you needed,” she said.

“I went in yesterday and talked to the City of Swan about how I get my bins back, and here they are today, waiting for me.

“The people they’ve got there at the Recovery Centre have been amazing.”

Echo News will continue with more Tales from Tilden and the Wooroloo bushfire next week.

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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