William Roberts

Fire family left homeless after refusing to give up pets

A FAMILY which lost almost everything in a Clifton house fire must choose whether to give up their pets or keep living in a bus.

"The kids have been through enough," William Roberts said.

"I can't really give up their pets now. They're part of the family."

William and Amy Roberts had planned to open a second-hand business from their rented building in Clifton's main strip.

They were also living in the building with their three children, two cats and a dog.

Fortunately, none were hurt in the fire which destroyed the building and its contents in November last year.

Clifton fire victims William Roberts, with Twitchy, and his children Luke, Zachary with Squirt and Tiana with Midnight.
Clifton fire victims William Roberts, with Twitchy, and his children Luke, Zachary with Squirt and Tiana with Midnight. Nev Madsen

The Clifton community responded with generosity, raising enough money for the family to buy a bus to live in temporarily.

Mr Roberts hoped it would be a short-lived arrangement and applied for social housing, but was warned he was at the back of a long queue.

The Salvation Army has offered the family crisis accommodation for three months - but no pets are allowed.

The family now looks likely to set up their partially-refitted bus in a caravan park until, hopefully, the phone rings from social housing.

"We've got no one who can look after the animals," Mr Roberts said.

"I've tried all that.

"My kids have had a hard time already and I can't do this to them as well.

"The last thing I can do is take away their pets.

"There's a good chance they will be put down if I take them to the RSPCA.... two of them were rescued by the firefighters."

Mr Roberts considered letting his pets live in the bus while his family occupied the Salvation Army house, but was told it was not an option.

The RSPCA has a 30-day limit on boarding animals.


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