THE Levingston family was driving home from football in Kempsey when they got an emergency text saying their Kungala home was about to go up in flames.
Mother-of-two Charmaine Levingston said by the time they got home they could see a bushfire had almost engulfed their house and that only the Coramba and Karangi Rural Fire Service volunteers were there to protect it.
"Just as we pulled up we could see the fire front was within two metres of our bedroom," Mrs Levingston said.
"The firies had been there for almost an hour."
Mrs Levinston said her family lost sewage and water pipes and their chicken shed, but could have lost so much more if it had not been for the intervention of the Rural Fire Service volunteers.
"I can't stress enough how thankful I am for the firies," she said
"They came from everywhere to help. They are legends."
Mrs Levingston said her whole family had worked with the fire service to save their house.
"We saved the chooks and threw them over the fence," she said.
She said husband Paul and 12-year-old son Riley had worked to save their organic garlic patch, and eight-year-old daughter Tahlia kept the dog inside and answered the phone while the fire burned.
"The firies were really calm," Mrs Levingston said.
"One lady kept coming and giving my daughter the thumbs-up and checking that she was okay."
Mrs Levingston said although their house had been saved, her neighbours were not so lucky.
"Paul came up from the garlic patch and I could hear the roar," she said.
"That was my neighbour's house.
"You could hear all the noises like bending metal.
"We watched it from the window go up in flames.
"There was just a pile of burnt tin next door and a bit of house that was still standing.
"As soon as the fire passed, the firies said, 'we have to go'.
"We would just have to rebuild and start over if we lost our house.
"Paul was with the garlic patch for quite a while and we were happy to have him back. I was just relieved after the adrenaline. It was just mayhem."
Mrs Levingston said one
of her neighbours was in no hurry to return home but others were getting busy.
"People are already restarting to rebuild," she said.
"We are cleaning up for the next month or two and making a better plan for next time."