Smoke alarm warning saves family
By CRAIG McTEAR
THE shrill of a smoke alarm has saved a Coffs Harbour woman, her grand-daughter and her nephew.
The 41-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, has called Coral Avenue home for the past 15 years, but that changed dramatically at 2.45am yesterday.
The piercing alarm jolted her from her slumber, and she could immediately smell her lace curtains burning.
She saw flames from her hallway and grabbed her three-year-old grand-daughter and raced out the front to safety.
Her 18-year-old nephew tried to douse the flames with a garden hose ahead of the arrival of fire crews.
"It was scary, but I just thank the Lord we all got out, and that no-one got hurt," the woman said.
"When I was out the front, I was thinking my home was burning to the ground.
"A lot of the belongings and possessions I've gathered over the years have been either burnt or ruined by smoke.
"I've still got some of my clothes, but I know I've lost electrical gear and furniture. I still don't know about my photos."
She wants to return to her home ? which she rents from the Department of Housing ? once repairs are completed.
"I want to move back in. It's where many of my family memories are," she said.
"My three children grew up here, and my brother lived here 10 or 11 years before I did."
The Housing Department is now providing temporary accommodation for the woman at a motel.
Fire crews were at the scene of the blaze for 45 minutes. They say it started in a rear bedroom, which is now charred almost beyond recognition, and spread to a toilet and the roof.
The remainder of the house is damaged by smoke and water, with repairs estimated to cost at least $20,000.
Police investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing.