No Christmas joy for Karen
By CRAIG McTEAR
CHRISTMAS this year will be tinged with sadness for Karen Craig.
The unit she's been renting in Coffs Harbour's Vincent Street for the past 18 months went up in smoke on Friday night, claiming many of her possessions.
"I feel lost. I've lost my independence and security," Karen said.
She was at the Park Beach Bowling Club when her neighbours rushed in to give her the dreadful news.
"They told me my windows had blown out and my place was on fire," she said.
"I couldn't believe it."
She rushed home to discover police, ambulance and fire crews and neighbours gathered outside.
She was shocked to discover the fire had destroyed her bedroom, while the rest of her unit was badly damaged by smoke and heat.
"I've lost just about everything, but I might be able to retrieve a few things," Karen said.
She learned nearby residents had kicked their way in at the height of the blaze because they thought she was still inside. They used garden hoses to douse the flames.
"I thought that was quite brave," she said.
"Vincent Street has a bad name, but I think my neighbours are really good neighbours when it comes to a crisis."
She is staying with one of those good friends until more permanent accommodation can be found, and she is full of praise for the Salvation Army and LJ Hooker for their help during this difficult time.
Police inquiries into the cause of the fire continue.
n Fire extensively damaged a house in Coffs Harbour's Remembrance Close early yesterday.
Fire crews were called out at 2.36am to the brick and tile dwelling.
The blaze wreaked havoc in the double garage, lounge room, kitchen and patio.
The occupants were awoken by the sound of the kitchen windows smashing due to intense heat, and the activation of a smoke detector. Ambulance officers treated them for shock.
Fire crews were at the scene for 90 minutes.