By JENNIE DELL
A LISMORE family of three are homeless after a fire gutted their home yesterday.
The family went out yesterday afternoon and during their absence the home on the corner of Pine and Simmons streets, North Lismore, was destroyed.
Shelley Andrews had just spent $20,000 painting and redecorating the home where she lived with her two young children.
Next door at Mary Wagner's house windows were cracked and external paint was scorched by the intense heat of the fire, which sent up clouds of black smoke to hang like a pall in the rainy grey sky.
Robyn Crump, of Lismore, saw the smoke when she came out of a shop in Molesworth Street, just before three o'clock. She headed over to Pine Street and saw flames leaping from the back and side window of the house.
Ms Crump knocked on the front door of the burning house. When there was no reply, she ran next door to Mrs Wagner's to borrow the garden hose and started hosing down the flames.
Mrs Wagner was watching golf on television.
"I'd just closed the back door because the rain was coming in, and I had the screen door locked," she said.
"The first I knew about the fire was somebody knocking on the door to borrow my hose."
Other Pine Street residents saw the smoke and rang the fire brigade and ambulance.
Allan Hughes lives two houses down the street.
"I was watching the cricket when my daughter, who lives opposite, ran in and told me she'd rung the fire brigade," he said.
"By then there were flames coming out of the centre of the roof."
While the fire brigade managed to stop the fire spreading across a narrow laneway to Mrs Wagner's house they were unable to bring the blaze under control.
Fire brigade incident controller Lewis Fortuna said they were glad to be able to protect the house next door from catching alight.