Young family loses all in fire

A young family lost everything they owned in a cabin fire at a Coffs Harbour caravan park yesterday.
A young family lost everything they owned in a cabin fire at a Coffs Harbour caravan park yesterday. ROB WRIGHT

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

The fire broke out inside a demountable building in the Bananacoast Caravan Park.

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

Returning to learn the devastating news,efforts are now under way to help them and already there’s been an outpouring of support from fellow park residents.

Firefighters praised caravan park manager Richard Gatenby for saving the cabin, which caught fire at 10.15am.

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,” Coffs Harbour Fire Station officer Mark Rose said.

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

“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 Rose said.

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 caseworker 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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