A FEROCIOUS blaze that totally destroyed a South Lismore house and ten-car garage last night could have been much worse if not for the quick response of firefighters and emergency services.

Firefighters received an emergency call to a Newbridge St residence about midnight, responding immediately with six units including the Goonellabah Hazmat Unit.

Lismore Fire Captain Brett Lowden praised the efforts of his crews in stopping the fire spreading to adjoining buildings and preventing serious injury or loss of life.

Twenty neighbouring residents had to be evacuated as firefighters and police feared nearby gas cylinders could explode - and a burning power pole carrying high voltage cables had to be extinguished.

"The job was pretty intense," Capt Lowden said.

"We couldn't properly gain access to it because of the danger of acetylene cylinders exploding.

"The fire was totally (ablaze) when we arrived and police had to evacuate residents because of the acetylene cylinders - the power pole really took priority too as it had 11,000kVA sitting above us.

"All these type of things are thrown into the equation when you arrive and you've just got to respond within seconds - because from the first flicker of flame to 15 minutes, a house is burnt to the ground."

About 25 firefighters from Lismore, Goonellabah and Alstonville battled the blaze for about three hours.

"We managed to save the shed behind which the fire was intending onto by getting a line of water between it and the house - and also the building with the acetylene - once we got that area protected we moved in and put the rest of the fire out," Capt Lowden said.

"We couldn't do much about the first building as the fire had already breached it when we arrived and was onto the shed with the cars - I think there could've been about 10 cars in it.

"The crews did a really good job."

NSW Ambulance Service duty officer, Inspector Greg Powell, said paramedics were on the scene within minutes of the call.

"There were initially reports of people inside the building, but all occupants were accounted for," Insp Powell said.

"Once we ascertained that, paramedics remained on scene for about four hours to support firefighters and emergency services while the fire was fought - and to maintain medical observation of firefighters working in encapsulated suits and breathing apparatus."

No residents required medical treatment.

Police and NSW Fire and Rescue are investigating the cause of the blaze.
 



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