His home and school were destroyed by bushfires, but Jake is proving resilient

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Ten-year-old Jake lost his home and school in Australia's recent bushfires as well as precious keepsakes he had from his father who died when Jake was only a baby.

Sticking out from warped sections of corrugated iron and powdery shards of plasterboard is the burnt frame of what was once a child’s bed.“It wasn’t very big but we were downsizing from when we were in town. It was just cute ... like Little House on the Prairie, we just loved it,” she tells SBS News.

But on the night of 30 December 2019, it would all be snatched away as fires tore through the hamlet. Jim stayed to defend the house with his brother and friend, but by nightfall he realised it couldn’t be saved."I was keeping an eye on the road to make sure we could get out, but the last time I went up it was on fire and the school was almost on fire.Bree Brunswick and Jim Keat say they're lucky to be alive.

For Jake, the loss was significant as the fires not only took his home but also the keepsakes he had from his father, who died when he was seven months old. “Every day you just realise there was something else in there, that now you haven’t got, it’s kind of bizarre,” he says. The fire that claimed the family's home also took the school Jake attended, Clifton Creek Primary.“For a little boy, you’ve got your family and you’ve got your school, and that’s your world. He’d lost it all in an instant. So he struggled the most, he loved being up there. He was devastated.

 

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