Heartbreak as fire guts home
A LISMORE father and his son are lucky to be alive after a ferocious fire gutted their Girard’s Hill home, destroying all their worldly possessions on Tuesday.
Rob Provost and his 11-year-old son, Josh, were at the rear of their rented Esyth Street house when a fire broke out in the front shortly after 12.40pm.
Next door neighbour Stephen Lennon raised the alarm when he noticed thick smoke billowing out the front of the timber Queenslander.
“I bashed on the door yelling ‘get out, get out, it’s a fire’,” he said.
Minutes after the Provosts evacuated, Mr Lennon, a retired storeman, tried to re-enter the house with a hose, but the fire was already too hot.
“I tried to put it out, but it was raging and all I could do was hose down my house to stop it spreading,” he said.
“I’ve got a suntan and a new singed haircut, but I’m okay.”
Neighbours reported flames 10 metres high at the peak of the blaze, but firefighters were on the scene quickly and had it under control shortly after 1pm.
Mr Provost’s wife Inna raced home from work as soon as she heard the news.
The distraught scientific officer with Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology was relieved her husband, son and the family dog were safe. However, the family’s cat, a Siamese Burmese named Raji, was still missing last night.
“We’ve basically lost everything,” she said.
“We didn’t have contents insurance. My husband’s a self-employed graphic designer and he’s lost all his work and the computer.”
The family, who moved from Brisbane last year, stayed with neighbours last night and would consider their options today.
“Maybe we’ll have to move back to Brisbane. We don’t want to. We love Lismore and the people. We loved the house – the landlord said that we could stay as long as we wanted.”
Fire Brigade Inspector Brad Harrison said the house was well alight when firefighters arrived from Lismore.
“Officers requested assistance and firefighters from Goonellabah and a duty officer attended,” he said.
Police are not treating the blaze as suspicious and estimate the damage to be between $250,000 and $300,000.