Norm Attwater in his shed for a feature story in The Daily Examiner in October, 2004.
Norm Attwater in his shed for a feature story in The Daily Examiner in October, 2004.

Priceless saddles lost in blaze

By IAN THOMSON

FIRE has ripped through a shed at Junction Hill, destroying the priceless work of a 72-year-old gifted saddler and harness maker.

The shed was engulfed after a caravan on the Trenayr Road property exploded and burst into flames early on Saturday morning.

A distraught Norm Attwater is still trying to come to grips with his loss.

"Everything's gone," he said yesterday.

"Three brand new saddles, restored World War One saddles, horses' collars, reins, harnesses, all my tools ? everything."

Norm's wife, Colleen, heard the explosion around 2am and saw the caravan in flames.

There were fears that a family member, who regularly uses the caravan, was still inside.

A search by firemen revealed the caravan was empty at the time of the blast. The flames quickly spread to the carport and the work shed.

"We used a garden hose while waiting for the firemen, but it was useless," Mr Attwater said.

"We managed to save our car and a trailer, but that's about all. The shed went up in no time. It was insured, but the contents weren't."

At the height of the blaze, flames scorched pot plants just metres from the family home. It took two brigades almost four hours to bring everything under control.

Mr Attwater, who learnt his trade in a Prince Street shop in 1947 and later became heavily involved in restoring equine military equipment, said the blaze had ended his career.

"I reckon that's it," he said. "It's just devastating. There is no way you could put a price on what I lost in that fire."



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