Fireys praised as 30 seconds saves neighbours from fire
AT HIS Wooloweyah home at 2pm Friday afternoon, Adrian Cooney had little idea of the inferno that was breaking out next door.
It wasn't until his across the neighbours spotted the smoke and ran to warn them that he and others sprung into action.
Five minutes later, his neighbours house was a wall of flame, and Mr Cooney said if not for a carport, and the work of firefighters, his would've ended up the same.
"I thought our house was gone," he said. "A neighbour across the road came running across, and we could see it had started downstairs next door."
"Basically by the time we reacted and got round the back, we grabbed a garden hose.
"Other people came round and gave us a hand, and got stuff out, but we just did what we could, turned the power off.
"Five minutes later, it was out of control, and we realised the garden hoses would do nothing."
Firefighters arrived on the scene within five minutes and started to work on suppressing the blaze, and stopping the spread to Mr Cooney's house, and a neighbour on the other side, both of which were just metres from the burning property.
"The carport saved us," Mr Cooney said. "Actually there was a fence there that was not long built that might have given us 30 seconds."
With the house alight, and emergency services packing the street, Mr Cooney said it was organised mayhem, with the tight-knit community helping out wherever the could, something that was still continuing.
"There's been plenty of offers of help from the community, everyone's jumped in together to help out," he said.
"It's sad, I mean, our home is okay, there's some semblance of damage, but for (house owner Ros Woodward) she's got nothing."
Members of the local community have started a GoFundMe for Ms Woodward, who was known as a champion for many local issues.
Tributes have poured in, as well as almost $20,000 in one day to help the family, who were not present when the fire began.
Mr Cooney said he was still unsure of the full extent of the damage to his house, but was glad to have escaped the full brunt of the inferno.
"The boys did a terrific job saving our place," he said. ". They got here and they could focus on the carport area.It was lucky they turned up at the right time
"If that carport was a bedroom, it would've got in and rifled through the whole house."