News

Ballina explosion survivor: "Everything I owned is gone"

Susannah Poole standing in front of her house which was burned in a fire following an explosion in Ballina on Friday night.
Susannah Poole standing in front of her house which was burned in a fire following an explosion in Ballina on Friday night. Nolan Verheij-Full

SUSANNAH Poole was having a quiet Friday night at home when the shock explosion in her neighbour's unit turned her world upside down.

Within a few minutes of the blaze taking hold, she had lost everything bar the clothes on her back.

Ms Poole's second-floor unit was one of three units in the five-unit block to be completely gutted by the fire.

GAS BOTTLE TO BLAME FOR FATAL EXPLOSION AND FIRE

"I don't even have any underwear. I have nothing; everything I owned was in that place," Ms Poole said.

"Just to have your whole life wiped out in one night where you don't own a single thing ... I should be grateful that I'm alive; but I am in shock."

And it happened so quickly.

My parents are both deceased, and I had items that they'd given me and that hurts more than anything

- Susannah Poole

"I was just sitting on the lounge watching TV ... then the biggest explosion you've ever heard," Ms Poole said.

"The whole building shook and there was a massive bang ... I looked out the front and there was orange flames ... I looked down and all the windows had exploded, there was glass everywhere and smoke was starting to bellow out.

The block of units at 38 Owen St, Ballina destroyed in Friday night's explosion.
The block of units at 38 Owen St, Ballina destroyed in Friday night's explosion.

"This was about 10 seconds after the explosion ... I just panicked and ran down the stairs.

"I didn't even have time to get my bag, I had to leave."

Cutting her feet on broken glass on the way down was the least of Ms Poole's concerns.

The evacuees quickly realised one resident was still in his flat and efforts were made by one to get into the unit, but it was already engulfed in flames.

"I just had a singlet and a skirt on; I knew I couldn't go back up the steps," she said.

"I ran down into Carrington Lane and shouted 'can someone please call triple-0."

"It was not going to be saved; that was evident in about three minutes."

Susannah Poole is devastated she lost everything when her house burned down in Ballina on Friday night.
Susannah Poole is devastated she lost everything when her house burned down in Ballina on Friday night. Nolan Verheij-Full

Ms Poole later admitted herself to hospital but was, except for her feet, uninjured. But the fire destroyed her most valued possessions.

"My parents are both deceased, and I had items that they'd given me and that hurts more than anything," she said

"Everything that you've gathered over the years, everything sentimental ... imagine it no longer exists."

But Ms Poole said she was incredibly grateful for the circle of friends who had come to her aid.

One friend had put her up on Friday night while another had offered a caravan for temporary accommodation.

"When things like this happen you realise what you do have," she said of the support.

Close friend Sarah Healy said a fundraiser to help Ms Poole would be set up and at least five donation tins would be put out at local pubs.

Topics:  ballina explosion editors picks fire house fire



GALLERY: Police raid Nimbin shop

A man will face court today on alleged drug supply charges after a raid at a Nimbin shop

Police executed a search warrant at a store on Cullen Street

She confronts her abuser after 50 years, forces a confession

SURVIVOR: Debbie McDonald was sexually abused by her stepfather almost 50 years ago.

"This is our little secret" he would tell her.

Cars toot during Lismore street protest

Hundreds march through the Lismore CBD on Saturday in support of refugees

Hundreds march in support of refugees

Local Partners

Cars toot during Lismore street protest

Motorists gave their morale suuport to a street protest about refugees on Saturday


Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Top 10 things to do this weekend

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Are you looking to get out and about over the next two days?

Teeing off to support Jodie's Inspiration

Reece Smith, Ernie Angelosanto and Shayne Smith will compete for the top of the leaderboard at this weekend's Jodie's Inspiration Golf Day.

Vie for the top of the leaderboard, if you dare

Un-American tale makes Lion weakest link in Oscars line-up

PSYCHOLOGY researchers find US films and actors most likely to win accolades at the Oscars.

Can rightful winner Midnight take out golden Gosling in Oscars?

Can Lion pip La La Land at the post in this year's Oscars? Sunny Pawar (pictured) helped bring a powerful film to the big screen.

WILL Aussie film Lion triumph or will popular La La Land prevail?

Living End, Grinspoon stars hit stage for American Idiot

Chris Cheney of The Living End stars in the Australian production of Green Days musical American Idiot at Brisbane's QPAC Theatre.

TAKE a look behind the scenes of Green Day's American Idiot musical

Northern Rivers gig guide

PIRATE FLAG: The Hussy Hick's latest single is a crowd favourite that echoes a sentiment of political scepticism. Hear Pirate Flag at Tintenbar Upfront, Tintenbar Hall, tomorrow 7.30pm. $20.

What's on this week in local entertainment

Samuel L Jackson dismisses La La Land ahead of Oscars

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in a scene from the movie La La Land.

Hollywood actor and Oscars voter says Denzel should win top gong

The trick homeowners are using to buy more properties

Chantelle Subritzky leaves her home each week for Airbnb guests.

Queenslanders are going down this path to help pay their mortgages

Stunning home blends South Pacific beauty with Orient style

Immaculate residence with two outdoor living areas

$140k damage: landlord says property trashed, contaminated

He had what he calls "the tenants from hell"

Submarine, buses and 3000 tyres removed in $100K clean up

The list of things removed from this property is beyond astonishing

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!