Bushfire victims house ‘became a big oven’

DAVID Lake lost his home and nearly all of his possessions when the bushfire that destroyed more than 200 homes engulfed his house in Winmalee in the Blue Mountains of NSW.

He spent a night in a youth shelter before he was picked up and taken to Chabad North Shore, which opened it’s doors to people that have lost their houses or have been forced to evacuate.

“I almost cry when I think about what Chabad have done for me,” 50-year-old Lake told The AJN as he left the Blue Mountains on Tuesday.

“They just popped up suddenly like mushrooms and are doing so much to help me. “I love them.”

Lake said that he was able to take some rare Torah books, casual clothes and his dog but then had to quickly flee Winmalee.

“The house is gone.

“It’s unbelievable that petrol in the front garden and my bike in the back yard were untouched, but everything inside was just engulfed because once the fire got inside the house it became a big oven.”

Chabad North Shore’s Rabbi Nochum Schapiro said he is doing everything he can to help Jewish people and non-Jewish people that are in danger because of the fires.

“I feel privileged to be able to help people and we will try and out for anyone that needs help and do what we can,” Rabbi Schapiro said.

“We are working with NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, Young Adult Chabad, Jewish Aid, Chabad of RARA, The Yeshiva Centre, Our Big Kitchen, Jewish House and JewishCare.

“Even for those people that haven’t been forced to evacuate, just to have the back-up plan of Chabad North Shore has been very therapeutic and helpful for them.”

Chabad North Shore has launched an appeal and is asking people to donate tax deductible donations, volunteer to help and temporarily adopt cats and dogs.

To offer assistance go to www.chabadhouse.org.au/relief.