Former Gloriavale family lose everything in west coast fire after lightning strike

A family of eight who recently left Gloriavale, the house they lived in, are lost after being struck by lightning and engulfed in flames. photo / supplies

A family of eight who recently left Gloriavale, the house they lived in, are lost after being struck by lightning and engulfed in flames.

Inchboney’s farm near Brunner Lake on the west coast of the South Island burned down on Saturday morning.

The family of five, aged 2 to 11, had been working in the fields for almost two months when the fire broke out.

Inchboney's farm near Brunner Lake on the west coast of the South Island burned down on Saturday morning.  photo / supplies
Inchboney’s farm near Brunner Lake on the west coast of the South Island burned down on Saturday morning. photo / supplies

At that time, all the people except the father and one of the children were in the house and only one survived.

The wider Moana community has rallied around charities including cutlery, toys and furniture, flocking to help them start over.

En route is the sixth child of the family,

The house was badly damaged, only the garage is intact.

Firefighters attributed the cause of the fire to lightning.

The west coast was devastated by a severe thunderstorm over the weekend, with MetServices recording 1,800 lightning strikes directly in the area on Saturday.

Firefighters were informed of the fire on the Kumara-Inchaboni road at 9:30 a.m.

Moana and Kumara firefighters were on site for nearly three hours to extinguish the blaze.

The chief of Moana said, “We attribute this to lightning because we had a huge amount of lightning in the area. A neighbor came over and said he saw lightning strike the end of the house or on the ground near the house. Fire Officer Dave Larkin said.

From what the crew can understand, the fire started in the lounge and the saloon.
“It’s bulldozer equipment, it’s completely destroyed,” Larkin said.

Farmer Matt Donahue, who rented the property, said the house was completely destroyed within 10 minutes of the lightning strike.

He said the family were shaken by the incident but were resisting well.

They have since been moved to another property on a nearby farm.

Donehue, who spoke to the New Zealand Herald on behalf of the family, said the family wanted to thank the community for their support.

“When they left Gloriavale, they didn’t have a lot of assets at the start. Suddenly getting those assets and then taking them back was probably the hardest thing for them ”.

A gifts page has been set up to help them financially.

To support the family, visit the GiveLittle page.

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