Coffs Harbour MP's home gutted by fire

A SMOKE alarm, a prepared owner and a swimming pool full of water have all helped contain a weekend fire at Bucca that gutted the home of Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser.

Mr Fraser was in Sydney with his wife when his 27-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, was woken by the smoke alarm.

She entered a room of the home on Central Bucca Road, Bucca to find a bar heater alight.

Elizabeth sustained serious burns to her feet and was taken to Coffs Harbour hospital for treatment.

Fourteen volunteer firefighters from the Moonee, Sandy Beach and Nana Glen Rural Fire Service brigades attended the fire approximately 20 minutes after the call was received and worked for an hour to contain the blaze.

Police, ambulance and Country Energy also attended.

The two-storey brick and weatherboard house sustained extensive fire damage to half of the structure, as well as some smoke and water damage.

But RFS regional manager region north, John Parnaby, said the fire could have been a lot worse.

“The house was very well prepared in case of fire, which aided firefighters in containing the blaze,” Mr Parnaby said.

A number of factors aided the Rural Fire Service during the blaze, including the property having clear roadside numbering, the availability of water sources such as a rainwater tank and a swimming pool, and clear, open areas between the property and surrounding bushland.

“There was clear space around the house and access for vehicles aided firefighters in attacking the fire,” Mr Parnaby said.

“Nobody likes to see a home burn, and while it did sustain extensive damage and was located in a remote area, saving 50 per cent of the house is a clear indication of all of these factors working together.”

A RFS crew was left at the premises overnight to ensure the fire didn't flare up again.

Mr Fraser was in a state of shock when the Advocate contacted him last night.

MrFraser had been in Sydney with his wife on parliamentary business whenhe got the call from his son Angus that the family home had gone up insmoke.

“We rushed back as soon as we heard.There's nothing left,” said Mr Fraser. “All the pictures of the kids,all our clothes – everything.

Mr Fraserconfirmed his daughter Elizabeth and son Angus were in the house whenthe fire started and praised their efforts. “They did all they could.In fact they were very brave,” he said.

Elizabethsuffered serious burns to her feet and Fraser will accompany hisdaughter to see a burns specialist in Sydney tomorrow.

TheNational Party MP also heaped praise on the Rural Fire Service, who hesaid did everything humanly possible to save his property.

“Theydid a fantastic job, but it's all gone,” he said. “Of course there'sinsurance, but you can't get back all those treasured personalmementoes.”

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