Refugee family counts cost of fire

The Heidari family - Back: Mohammad, Ali Javad, 21, and Mohammad Ajmal, 18. Front: Fariba, 16,  Shafigheh holding Roghaya, 2,  Fatima, 4,  Mohadeseh, 9,  Samira, 11,  Saeideh, 12, Zahra, 4, Ali Sajad, 14, and Nasir, 19.. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

The Heidari family - Back: Mohammad, Ali Javad, 21, and Mohammad Ajmal, 18. Front: Fariba, 16, Shafigheh holding Roghaya, 2, Fatima, 4, Mohadeseh, 9, Samira, 11, Saeideh, 12, Zahra, 4, Ali Sajad, 14, and Nasir, 19.. Picture: NEIL RICHARDSON

THE Heidari family lost important documents and most of their possessions in a devastating house fire on Friday night.

The temporary residence at Brougham Street, West Launceston, had been their home since their arrival in Australia just five weeks ago.

Father Mohammad Heidari described a frantic scene when neighbours alerted the family to smoke billowing from the roof.

Five members of the family were inside at the time, including a parent. All escaped to safety.

``We saw smoke and fire which started the alarm, so we moved all the children and documents,'' Mr Heidari said with help from community member and interpreter Ilyas Warasi.

Fariba, 16, and Fatima Heidari, 4, lost everything when their home was destroyed in a fire on Friday. Picture: Neil Richardson

Fariba, 16, and Fatima Heidari, 4, lost everything when their home was destroyed in a fire on Friday. Picture: Neil Richardson

``Some important documents were taken by smoke, but we are happy because our family is healthy, not injured and our children are safe.''

The 13-strong family moved to Australia from Iran after fleeing Afghanistan more than 16 years earlier.

Mr Heidari worked as a builder in Iran and hopes to find work as a farmer once his English improves.

He said the most important thing to he and wife Shafigheh was that his 11 children were educated.

The children range in age from two to 21 and the whole family will start school once term three begins.

They expressed joy at being in a new, peaceful home.

``We are happy here and enjoy it,'' Mr Heidari said.

The family will move into a new home on Wednesday.

The Migrant Resource Centre is collecting goods for the family at its Cameron Street premises and Riverside Primary School, which will educate the primary-aged children, has asked for donations of quality puzzles and construction games which do not require English. It asked that donations are received by the school office during school holidays or on the first day of term three.

Shafigheh Heidari, holding Roghaya, 2. Picture: Neil Richardson

Shafigheh Heidari, holding Roghaya, 2. Picture: Neil Richardson

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