Pambula Rural Fire Service (RFS) captain Stephen Irving has spoken about the devastating fire that left a South Pambula family homeless on Friday evening saying local fire officers were alerted by smoke even before they received the alarm call.
“I saw the fire from my house in Bald Hills at 7pm on Friday night and ran inside to get onto my crew and as I did the phone was ringing,” Mr Irving said.
Another member of the brigade was a neighbour and had seen the fire as well.
“Because of this we responded as fast as possible and were at the fire by 7.10pm. Quickly the crew ran two lines of hose, the first attack was on the front of the house and then another line went to the side and the back of the house,” he said.
Meanwhile Mr Irving was taking out fuses to remove electrical danger and trying to establish if anyone was still in the building.
“The fire took off so quickly. It was very lucky the residents evacuated.”
Within minutes the Pambula RFS had attacked the fire and had started to contain the upper storey where it is believed the fire started.
Pambula RFS crew were joined by Merimbula RFS, NSW Fire and Rescue from both Merimbula and Eden and a Hazmat truck.
“The top was gutted and there was a lot of water damage in the lower level but it’s possible there may be some memories that can be recovered from that lower level,” Mr Irving said.
But structurally the property was no longer sound.
“We’re under the impression the fire started where the power entered the building but how it started we don’t know and that will be for the fire investigators to look at,” he added.
“We had the fire under control by 7.30pm and that was when the NSW Fire and Rescue crew went inside.”
Officer in charge at Merimbula NSW Fire and Rescue Mike Duncan said officers in breathing apparatus went into the home after the fire was extinguished.
“There was extensive damage throughout the house and it was structurally unsound in the upper floor,” Mr Duncan said.
The single brick veneer building has a timber frame which has been burnt out on the top floor.
As news of the fire spread, there was immediate concern for the family with three children who lost their home coupled with offers of help.
By Saturday afternoon Holly Callaghan who was co-ordinating help for the family posted on Facebook: “At this stage they have enough clothing & will need everything eventually but do not have a place to live as of yet so until we have all that sorted I will keep in contact & let everyone know more. Thank you for all the support such a wonderful community.”