'It was a nightmare': Residents describe frightening blaze
SHEER panic: That's how a young Lennox Head family felt when they saw flames blowing on to their house in a devastating fire which destroyed two neighbouring homes on Sunday morning.
Firefighters and police were called to the Survey St home about 1am to find a two storey timber home engulfed in flames.
As they arrived police evacuated four people from the main house and three people from a neighbouring property.
Next door neighbour Ian Castel said his wife heard the crackling and thought someone had broken in to their house.
"I've run downstairs to check it out and I could see all the flames shining through our window so I ran upstairs to get the kids and tried to grab a few things and got out.
"The fire was just next to our house and we thought 'Oh our house is going to go for sure'."
Within minutes the blaze spread to a neighbouring home, which it reduced to ashes, but the Castels were miraculously spared.
The family were told they were very lucky to not see any damage.
A small tin wall still standing on the neighbouring property is what may have saved the Castels' home.
Mr Castel said it was a terrifying scenario.
"At one stage the flames were blowing on to our house but then it changed southerly.
"I seriously thought it was going be to be our house. I'm pretty rattled still."
"You feel like you're on your own when something like this happens. You just don't know what to do and you can't function properly.
A neighbouring resident said the first home was completely burned out before firefighters arrived at the scene.
"That was the killer," they said.
"We need a station... too many people, too many lives at risk."
Another neighbour agreed, saying the scariest thing about the fire was how long it seemed to take for fire crews to arrive.
"It was a nightmare. It was the worst night of my life."
"The wind was so scary. It was just awful."
"It was absolutely out of control, but they saved that (third) house.
"Everyone is so close. This is a good wake up call for all these subdivisions they are putting on top of each other."
Gas cylinders on the sides of the properties also exploded during the blaze, with residents describing multiple 'bangs'.
Six Fire and Rescue crews plus additional volunteers from the Rural Fire Service, and police, were needed during the emergency.
Fortunately no one was seriously injured despite the ferocity of the blaze.
One of the residents of the main home - a 28-year-old man - was taken to hospital for minor smoke inhalation, while two police officers also suffered minor smoke inhalation.
Police are yet to determine the cause of the fire but an investigation has been launched.