It was the phone call that no one wants to get.
Last Tuesday afternoon (February 18), Kiraleigh Beverstock was halfway through a shift at Cessnock Ex-Services Club when a family friend rang her to say that her family’s Abermain house was on fire.
Miss Beverstock said that she didn’t believe it at first, and quickly range triple zero only to have her fears confirmed.
“When I spoke to triple zero they told me it was true and I just rushed straight home,” she said.
“I had to ring my mum and tell her the house was on fire.
“By the time we got there, the streets were full and it was just a disaster.”
The fire broke out at approximately 2.40pm.
No one was at home when the fire started and the cause is believed to be an electrical fault in the lounge room.
Tragically the body of the family’s dog, Hunny, was found in the house on Thursday.
Miss Beverstock lived in a shed adjoining the Lismore Street home that was fortunately untouched by the fire.
However, the home shared by her parents Theresa and Damian Connolley as well as her younger brothers Brandon and Deaken, was completely destroyed.
Mrs. Connolley said that the family’s future is now unclear, with her husband recently leaving work because of a back injury.
“Thing have been very tough for us for the past six months and now this,” she said.
“My dog washing business has been the only thing keeping us going.
“We still don’t know if we are going to get another house.
“We just don’t know what the future holds for us now.”
It took fire crews from Kurri, Cessnock and Abermain almost two hours to completely extinguish the blaze, as the family helplessly watched on.
Since then, they have been overwhelmed with community support with a Facebook page ‘Donations for the Connolley Family’ leading to an influx of donations.
Miss Beverstock said that they can’t thank people enough for all of their help and support.
“We have pretty much lost everything,” she said.
“We have received so much help from people though it has been really overwhelming.”
Fortunately a box containing photos of Kiraleigh’s biological father, who passed away when she was only a baby, were spared by the fire.
She said that the family kept the photos by the front door and while the box had been badly burnt, firefighters were able to retrieve some of the photos without damage.
The Connolley family is now living in a caravan on the property and Mrs. Connolley said that if it wasn’t for the help of neighbours and friends, they would be lost.
“Everyone has been fantastic,” she said.
“I don’t know what we would have done without help.
“Being a small community you get to know people.
“But we have had people coming down the street, saying you don’t know me but we want to help.
“I can’t thank them enough.”