Homes lost but lives saved in Carwoola fire

Kevin Lindley inspects his property. Photo: Jay Cronan
Kevin Lindley inspects his property. Photo: Jay Cronan

A Carwoola resident described the aftermath of the fire as "like a war zone", as residents returned to their homes on Saturday to survey the damage for the first time.

The Lindley family was lucky to escape with their lives, their home of 19 years was burnt to the ground.

Kevin Lindley said he thought he was prepared to fight the blaze. That was until he saw the flames towering over his machinery shed at twice the height.

Kevin Lindley inspects his property. Photo: Jay Cronan

Kevin Lindley inspects his property. Photo: Jay Cronan

"We expected some spot fires, we had the RFS with six tankers at the bottom of our driveway, and then they took off and they went straight into hell," Mr Lindley said.

He said it was when the wind changed that they knew they had to get out.

Vanessa Lindley said she sobbed in the car while her husband watched their family home go up in flames.

"It's not just that you've lost this, or that. We've lost everything. Absolutely everything is gone,” she said.

The couple was preparing to leave for a once-in-a-lifetime holiday, travelling around Australia on a motorcycle, when the fire burned through their belongings and left everything they owned in ruins.

Their shed, which once housed machinery for their small business, was warped and black. Only remnants of their possessions remained.

Their eldest son and his new wife had moved all their possessions to the property the weekend prior, as they prepared to house sit while their parents were away.

Down the road, Julie Wallace said she thought the access to water in her tanks and pool was what saved their family home.

Gerhard Fischer inspects the aftermath of the fast moving grass fire at Widgiewa Rd. Photo: Jay Cronan

Gerhard Fischer inspects the aftermath of the fast moving grass fire at Widgiewa Rd. Photo: Jay Cronan

"We had no power, so we couldn't fight with any water. There was nothing we could do," she said.

Firefighters took over as the family evacuated, and were able to save the home. 

"The house is full of smoke and ash, but I've started to clean up," Ms Wallace said on Saturday. 

Gerhard Fischer said he was one of the lucky ones.

The flames licked the side of his home after he and his family had safely evacuated. The deck he'd finished building last week remained untouched, but the grass beside it was blackened.

"We got out with the horses, cats and dogs," Mr Fischer said.

"You think you're prepared but you're not. You think it's not going to happen."

The cubby where his now adult children played as kids was burnt to the ground, but the chickens in the coop further down the yard had been saved. 

"It feels a bit like a war zone at the moment," he said.

"It's a strange feeling. You see it on the news and think it could happen to you but it won't, but when it does it's like a reality check. I feel fortunate, there's a lot of people up the road that are a lot worse off."

The fire damage in Carwoola on Saturday. Photo: Jay Cronan

The fire damage in Carwoola on Saturday. Photo: Jay Cronan

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