Carla Ryan, 11, and little sister Eloise, 2, at the site of their burnt down house just outside of Tucabia. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner
Carla Ryan, 11, and little sister Eloise, 2, at the site of their burnt down house just outside of Tucabia. Photo JoJo Newby / The Daily Examiner

Family back to basics after losing everything in house fire

IT MAY not have occurred to 11-year-old Carla Ryan when she first discovered her Tucabia home ablaze last Thursday that the community would rally to support her family.

The resilient fifth-grader was quick to act.

Having just done the long, hot walk down a kilometre-long driveway in scorching heat, Carla had to run back down to Firth-Heinz Rd, her brother Percy, 5, in tow, and flag down a car.

The first car had no phone but the second was able to raise the alarm.

By the time firefighters reached the remote property, it was more about stopping the spread of fire than rescuing the building.

At some point that afternoon Carla realised that the family's little house dog Spotty was missing, and she hasn't been seen since.

Carla's mother Cloe Hayward said the cause of the fire was unknown but it was thought the home's many gas appliances or solar batteries may have been a contributing factor.

The house, owned by Ms Hayward and her partner Mark Ryan, was not insured.

The couple run a small hay-baling business and have been busy trying to keep up with work commitments and house their five children in a small cabin structure ever since.

There is no power and the property's old pit toilet has had to be revived as a stop-gap measure.

As outlined in yesterday's Daily Examiner, the community has come on board with donations of furniture, clothing and food.

The Tucabia Public School is holding a dress-up fundraiser today and the Tucabia Store has become a drop-off point for the many donations.

Donations headed for the Sullivan family of South Grafton, who lost their house on the same day last week, have even been diverted to the Hayward-Ryans.

Ranbuild Sheds have offered a generous discount on a 7m x 12m shed and workers have offered to help build it in the medium-term, but the family still needs to come up with about $17,000.

Even with the shed - no toilet, bathroom or kitchen facilities are included - there is still a long way to go.



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