Family left homeless after house gutted by flames
THE smell of smoke hangs thick in the air, fire trucks line the street and one local mum is standing on the front lawn wondering where she and her nine-year-old son will sleep tonight.
"My son Hudson came running in from around the side of the house and said 'mum quick there's a fire'," said Jo.
Jo, her flatmate Rachel, and her son have been living at 22 Barcoo Court, Toormina for the past five months.
This afternoon it took only minutes for the house to go from being a home to a burnt out shell.
"It just happened so quickly, A mattress we stored at the side of the house caught fire and from there it just spread to the house - the whole thing went up in about 40 seconds, so very fast."
Jo didn't even have time to grab her handbag; all her possessions have been destroyed.
"I was hoping to get my purse out but they're saying we can't go back in the house because of the asbestos."
Police, Sawtell and Coffs Fire Units and Ambulance all responded to the 2.33pm Triple O call from neighbours for assistance.
"The house was well alight when we arrived," said Matt Malone, Coffs Harbour Fire Station Officer.
"We went from getting one phone call to numerous calls while we were responding. It took about 10 minutes to contain and then we had to decontaminate all the gear because of the asbestos in the house.
"We were lucky that a truck from Essential Energy just happened to be driving by so they were quickly able isolate the power."
With the blaze out, Jo was standing in front of what was left of her home being comforted by neighbours. As she was trying to process what had happened and what to do next, a fire fighter with the distinctive smell of smoke clinging to her uniform walked towards Jo and held out a charred wooden box.
"Oh my, that's my childhood jewellery box, I can't believe it," Jo said.
Hudson looked up at one of the fire fighters and hopefully asked ,'Did you save the TV?"
Of course the answer was no, and with no home contents insurance Jo will be struggling to replace everything.
"There are a lot of great support organisations in Coffs with good people, we'll get by, but Hudson's birthday in July, well that will be a tough one."