DESTROYED: At least five people have lost everything after their home caught on fire this morning in East Ballina.
DESTROYED: At least five people have lost everything after their home caught on fire this morning in East Ballina. Aisling Brennan

Community rallies behind victims of Ballina house fire

THE community is coming together to support the three families who lost everything in a house fire at Ballina on Tuesday.

Jaque Ashworth, her three children and two other men who lived in the three separate apartments within the complex have been left homeless after their Pine Ave building in East Ballina caught on fire in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The occupants and neighbours were woken up to the smell and sound of the fire and quickly escaped the building as emergency service crews arrived about 1.30am on Tuesday to extinguish the blaze.

A GoFundMe campaign set-up within hours of the blaze to help the Ashworth family has seen a huge boost in support from the community, and has already raised $12,865.

But after news of the fundraising campaign spread online, many people wanted to also help the unidentified men who also lost their homes during the fire.

Ballina business owner Toni-Ann Stamp is taking donations for all of the victims to help them get back on their feet.

"I have set up a basket on shop counter at T.As Lunchbox, if anyone would like to pop toiletries of any sort for all the families involved," Ms Stamp posted on social media.

"It can be as little as a cake of soap, it all helps. Many thanks to you all."

Donations can be dropped off at TA's Lunchbox at 263 River St, Ballina.