A FAMILY was lucky to escape a fire at Ocean Shores late Monday afternoon which destroyed their home and car.
Elicia Maxwell and her children Bethany, Connor and Isabella smelt smoke about 5pm.
Shortly after they were alerted by a neighbourhood child knocking on their front door to tell them that their Yamble Dr house was alight.
The three escaped with a handful of belongings before the home and the garage were gutted, along with a Nissan Skyline inside.
Elicia's partner Tom Smith was seeking treatment for a leg injury when told by phone his house was on fire.
"The house was destroyed when I got home," Mr Smith said.
The family were renting and did not have contents insurance. They are staying with friends.
Elicia, 33, wearing a dress borrowed from her mother-in-law, said among their belongings which perished were several Christmas gifts for the kids.
But the couple said despite losing practically everything, they felt very blessed to still have their family and were very grateful to neighbours and passers-by who tried to put the fire out before three fire trucks arrived.
"We've been through a few ups and downs but at least we have each other," Mr Smith said.
Examining the charred remains yesterday, NSW Fire and Rescue inspector Jeff Roche said the cause of the blaze had not been determined.
But Insp Roche said it had started amid household items that had been placed in the yard for a garage sale.
Neighbour Rod Work said he heard two explosions during the blaze.
"I was amazed at how quickly it took hold," he said.
"It's a terrible time of year for this to happen."