A 58-year-old Nabiac woman is alive today all thanks to the actions of her dog Dusty, a passer-by and her neighbour.
Lyn Moulds was asleep in her bedroom when a fire broke out in her kitchen at around 8.30pm on Thursday night. With her husband out for the evening, Dusty the dog jumped the backyard fence on Donaldson Street and alerted a passer-by, Robert Channon.
Mr Channon then alerted the next door neighbour, Mark Tollis, who ran in, grabbing a hose on his way in.
“He was calling out, checking to see if anyone was home while he tried hosing down the fire in the kitchen,” Ms Moulds’ niece Cassandra Thomas said.
“Then he heard her coughing.”
Mr Tollis headed further into the house to assist Ms Moulds and get her outside.
“The ambos checked her and said she was OK to go,” Ms Thomas said, adding that with the house now unliveable, both her uncle and aunty were now staying with her.
Fire and Rescue Great Lakes firefighter Mick Austin said by the time his crew of four turned up the “RFS had it pretty much in hand.”
“The fire had gone through the roof, so they were standing there pouring water on it. We put a couple in breathing apparatus and sent them inside to check the damage,” he said.
Crews had to blow tiles off the roof to get water where it needed to go to make holes in the roof so they could get the water in.
“We had some trouble getting the fire out, it had gone up into the roof and rafters. The house was very damaged.”
He said suspected asbestos in the ceiling caused them to call in the specialised hazardous materials crew from Taree to treat the asbestos. The crew also pulled the ceiling down with a ceiling hook because they were worried it wouldn’t hold.
Their efforts to stop it from burning down the whole house went late into the night but it appears what the fire didn’t damage, the water to douse it, did.
At this stage it is unknown what caused the fire, but Mr Austin said it appeared to be an electrical fault. Witnesses have indicated that the flames were coming from the back of the oven which had only recently stopped working, and there was “a lot of fire in the walls.”
“I just can’t thank Mark enough for his bravery in trying to fight the fire then hearing Aunty Lyn and rescuing her,” a grateful Ms Thomas said.
“Mark and his wife also gave her some clothes and cared for her until I got there.”
She said Ms Moulds was shaken, but OK.
“It could have been so much worse.”