Residents Harley Smith (left) and Will Kent search through the remains of their lounge room looking for personal effects.
Residents Harley Smith (left) and Will Kent search through the remains of their lounge room looking for personal effects. David Nielsen

Blaze destroys family's Alstonville home

FIREFIGHTERS battled for an hour and a half to bring a house fire in Alstonville under control yesterday morning.

Goonellabah station commander Ian Grimwood said that the brick and tile house in Granada Parade was completely destroyed.

Fire brigades from Goonellabah, Alstonville and Ballina fought the blaze from about 11am.

"The roof collapsed early on in the fire so we couldn't get crews inside to extinguish the flames," Mr Grimwood said.

"A couple of people were treated on the scene for minor injuries and police are investigating the incident."

The family renting the house had only been living in the Panorama Park Estate for a couple of months.

After firefighters had finished extinguishing the blaze, the family started to sift through their damaged property to see what they could salvage.

"There's nothing much we can do," renter Phil Kaufmann said.

"We're just grabbing all of our personal stuff."

Mr Kaufmann's hands were blackened from searching through the smoke and fire-damaged property.

The family is staying with friends as they come to grips with their situation.

Some of the family's photographs were damaged, but thankfully most were retrieved from the house.

Old school trophies, singed motorcycle helmets and other personal belongings were strewn across the front yard of the property.

Also in the front yard were half a dozen big red, white and blue striped plastic storage bags containing clothing and other items.

A next-door neighbour said he had arrived about 20 minutes after the blaze started.

"I was driving home and I saw smoke coming out of what I thought was my house and my heart started pumping really fast," the neighbour said.

"It is unfortunate for them as they've only been here a couple of months."

Meanwhile, a fire in bushland at East Ballina got a little out of control about 6pm last night.

Two fire crews from Ballina joined a group of rural firefighters to extinguish the blaze in a large area of bush off Anderson Street, near the cemetery.

No houses were threatened by the fire, which crews had trouble accessing.

The fire moved back through the bush towards Pine Avenue and firefighters were battling to bring it under control last night.


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