The park manager's quick response saved the cabin before fire crews arrived, but the tenants lost all their possessions.
The park manager's quick response saved the cabin before fire crews arrived, but the tenants lost all their possessions.

Park blaze devastates young family

A YOUNG family has lost all their belongings after the cabin they were renting in a Coffs Harbour caravan park caught fire today.

The blaze broke out inside a demountable building in the Bananacoast Caravan Park at 10.15am.

The occupants, a young couple with a six-month-old child, were shopping at the time of the fire.

They returned to learn the devastating news and efforts are now under way to help them.

Already there’s been an outpouring of support from fellow park residents.

Firefighters praised caravan park manager Richard Gatenby for saving the cabin.

As a smoke alarm rang out and smoke billowed from the building, he acted quickly, smashing the front glass door and grabbing a fire hose.

“He really did a great job. He had the presence of mind to turn off the gas and switch off the power before grabbing the fire hose and containing the spread of the flames from the doorway. A great job all round,” said Coffs Harbour Fire Station officer Mark Rose.

“Had he not done so, the cabin would have been well engulfed.”

NSW Fire Brigade crews investigating the blaze narrowed it down to an overloaded powerboard.

“The fire started in the main room of the cabin around a four-plug power board which had a number of appliances plugged into it at the time.”

Mr Gatenby’s wife Leanne said the park had organised another cabin for the young couple, who have lost a lifetime of possessions.

“It is very sad. They have been left very distressed by the whole thing,” Mrs Gatenby said.

“We have contacted a case worker on their behalf and have also been in touch with the Salvation Army to see what can be done for them.

“At the moment we are organising baby clothes, important things like that, that they’ll need straight away,” she said.

Any donations from the public would be greatly appreciated and can be left at the office of the Bananacoast Caravan Park on the Pacific Highway.



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