Quick thinking saves two lives during house fire in Wandal

Tenants were lucky to escape this house on Dibdin St, Wandal after it caught fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is believed an appliance was left on overnight.
Tenants were lucky to escape this house on Dibdin St, Wandal after it caught fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is believed an appliance was left on overnight. Rachael Conaghan

WHEN Clair Fitzpatrick woke in the early hours of yesterday morning to find the house in flames around her, her actions may have saved another's life.

Josh Fleming was still asleep when she got to him, and his friends yesterday shuddered to think what may have happened if she hadn't been there to wake him. Clair and Josh were staying in the house on Dibdin St, Wandal, while owners Eddie and Chloe House were away.

Yesterday Eddie said they lost everything in the fire, which gutted the home.

Fire fighters were called to scene around 4.30am yesterday to find it well alight, and were there until 10.30am putting it out.

Police and fire crews spent the morning investigating and believe an oven or other kitchen appliance was left on overnight, sparking the blaze. Josh was in hospital overnight suffering from smoke inhalation and burns to his feet.

Eddie, who moved out of the home six months ago, was on Great Keppel Island for the weekend but spent yesterday morning checking out the damage.

His sister Chloe, who still lives there with other tenants, was supposed to be enjoying music festival Splendour in the Grass, but drove back from Byron Bay yesterday to see the house.

Eddie said they'll likely have to knock the entire house down and rebuild it, or try and sell the block.

Fortunately they have home and contents insurance, but he said they've lost things like photos and personal items that can't be replaced.

Topics:  heroes house fire wandal

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