Carer saves three from house fire

QUICK thinking by a carer saved the lives of three elderly residents in a ferocious blaze at an isolated property near Whiporie early on Saturday morning.

Emergency service workers praised the presence of mind of the carer, who was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault in the single-storey timber home shortly after midnight.

Next door neighbour, Scott Hanna, said the house was well alight when he awoke to the commotion.

"It was just after midnight, I called 000 and jumped straight in the car and shot up there but they were all just standing outside by the gate watching," he said.

"By that stage it was just a matter of 'stand back and wait'.

In an ironic twist of nature, rain began to fall heavily shortly after the fire started.

"We just got them out of the rain (and) watched it burn to the ground," Mr Hanna said.

"The firies did a great job too, but it did take them a while to get there - there's a rural fire station 2km away, near Whiporie, but we don't enough locals to man it.

"The brigade there desperately needs new members, especially at this time of year. Even if there was one member available to drive their tanker down - the Bungawalbin crew got there pretty quick but they only had a ute with only 600 litres of water.

"If they could've got the bigger tanker down with some capacity…"

Northern Rivers Rural Fire Service manager, Superintendant Michael Brett, commended his crews for containing the blaze to one building and working late into the night to render the scene safe.

He confirmed membership in isolated brigades can sometimes be difficult to sustain.

"The problem down there is if I haven't got people I've got to bring resources in from elsewhere which basically means it's going to take longer to get there," he said.

"The Bungawalbin crew turned up and Rappville and Whiporie and Woodburn - the problem is Whiporie covers a fairly large area and the majority of members don't actually live in Whiporie itself - they've got to come into Whiporie to get the truck - it would be great to get more members in that bottom end of the region."

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