Nearly $8,000 was donated to a health worker after the car caught fire

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Nearly $8,000 has been donated to an Auckland healthcare worker after an arson attack blew up his car.

The car burst into flames, sending “pieces of glass and car parts” flying, on St John’s in Ponsonby at around 5.30am on October 5.

Car owner Debra Manuel, a 52-year-old healthcare worker who works with young people with disabilities, said she was “overwhelmed with gratitude” to those who donated.

“Everyone who donated and left lovely comments. Those comments got me through the week. People were wonderful, she said.

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The fire melted much of Manuel’s uninsured car, leaving only a “skeleton” behind, she said.

About a week later, the shock started to set in.

“It had a huge impact on my life. The inconvenience of not having a place, of not being able to go to work.

“It was quite stressful. I work in mental health – it’s not like I need more stress in my life,” she said.

She is looking forward to being able to buy a new car with the donations.

Debra Manuel's car caught fire on October 5.

Debra Manual/Supplied

Debra Manuel’s car caught fire on October 5.

Local Peter Collins once said Things he fled after seeing smoke and “a huge flame” on the morning of October 5.

“I called the fire department, rushed outside and could only watch. Several pieces of glass and car parts exploded in front of me,” he said.

Collins feared it would spread to nearby homes.

“The houses were seconds away from catching fire. It could have been so bad,” he said.

Police closed the case after exhausting investigative leads.

“If new information comes to light, the police are prepared to reassess the case,” a police spokesman said.

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