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Fire leaves Coast family homeless

A SECOND accident in nine years has left an East Coast family asking the community for help to find a place to live.

Fire burnt Matt Sidney’s Tolaga Bay home to the ground on November 15 and left the 48-year-old with serious burns to his hands and face.

The husband, father and grandfather has been in the Waikato Hospital burns department since the incident, which was caused after a leaking gas bottle exploded.

“It blew up in my face,” he said.

Other family members home at the time managed to help Mr Sidney escape, and he was the only one injured.

The resulting fire from the explosion razed their home.

“Thirty years of our life is in ashes now — 30 years of everything.”

Mr Sidney had already brushed with death nine years ago after a forestry accident in 2008 left him paralysed and in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Months of rehabHe now faces months of rehabilitation to get the use of his hands back.

After several skin grafts to both hands, he is waiting for the doctors and specialists to give him the all-clear to be transferred to Gisborne Hospital where he can start his rehabilitation.

Daughter Ana Sidney said her father was healing well and things were looking good.

Speaking from his hospital bed in Hamilton, Mr Sidney said he wanted to help his family find a home while they rebuild.

The family were covered by insurance but the house could take up to a year to be rebuilt on the same section, but in the meantime they need a three-to-four-bedroom home in Gisborne for Mr Sidney, his wife, their eldest daughter and two grandchildren.

Mr Sidney said his family were dealing with a lot of stress.

“I’m worried about my family and I can’t do anything because I am in a hospital bed trying to mend.”

Mr Sidney said they had also received an outpouring of love and support.

A Go Fund Me campaign raised more than $6700 for his family so they could travel to Waikato to be near him.

He had nothing but praise for the care he had received at Waikato Hospital.