Fire destroys 87-year-old Adventist woman’s home

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Ms O'Brien will likely have no choice but to demolish the premises.

Adventist church member Elaine O’Brien was displaced from her home of 53 years after it burned down on October 26.

The 87-year-old was woken early on Sabbath morning by the fire, which started in her kitchen and quickly spread throughout her house in Davoren Park, Adelaide.

Ms O’Brien bought the house in 1966 for 9000 pounds and has lived there ever since.

Although Ms O’Brien and her son were able to escape unscathed, most of their possessions have been destroyed, including decades of meticulously catalogued Adventist Record magazines and records of Pathfinders in Australia.

Ms O’Brien is a member of Elizabeth Seventh-day Adventist Church (Adelaide, SA) and is heavily involved in ministry.

“She is a legend in the church around Australia for her faithfulness and commitment to the church and especially its young people,” said Elizabeth Church pastor Matthew Hunter.

Ms O’Brien at the AUC Pathfinder Camporee earlier this year.

For many years, Ms O’Brien served as the youth department secretary in the Greater Sydney Conference. She was also involved with the beginnings of Pathfinders in Australia in 1952 and began the Auburn Pathfinder club herself in 1954. She is still involved with Pathfinders today, serving as a leader in the Elizabeth Pathfinder club and attending the AUC Pathfinder Camporee earlier this year.

Unfortunately, Ms O’Brien’s house is unrepairable and uninsured, as she did not have enough money for house insurance.

Members of Adventist churches from across Australia who have been impacted by Ms O’Brien’s ministry over the years have stepped in to support her in her time of need. So far, more than $A11,000 has been raised to help her replace lost items and pay for the cost of demolition. It is likely that she will have no option but to sell her land and find rental accommodation.

If you would like to contribute to the fund, visit Ms O’Brien’s GoFundMe page.