$20,000 to clear block after blaze

CRABBES Creek father Peter Strickland surveys the smouldering ruins of his family home.
CRABBES Creek father Peter Strickland surveys the smouldering ruins of his family home. Tweed Daily News/Craig Sadler

THE Strickland family who lost everything in a house fire last weekend are now facing a $20,000 bill to clear the site of asbestos.

Peter and Vanessa Strickland and their five young children were left with only the clothes on their backs after fire gutted their Crabbes Creek home on Saturday.

Mr Strickland said the family was sorting out an insurance claim, but had been told by the company asbestos was found in the home.

The cost of fencing off the site and clearing it by a licensed professional is expected to reach $20,000 and will come out of the couple's own pockets.

“We've just found out we're under- insured,” the father-of-five said.

“We took out insurance when we first got the place six years ago, but we didn't upgrade it.

“There's a lesson here for everyone.”

Police are still investigating the cause of the fire, which broke out underneath the home about 5pm.

Mr Strickland bravely re-entered the burning house to save his two youngest sons, Gus, 3, and Reuben, 18 months.

“The kids didn't get any trauma out of it,” Mr Strickland said.

“The ambulance (paramedics) gave them a clean bill of health.”

Since the fire, the Crabbes Creek community has donated an abundance of toys and clothing for the family, with the town hall now a drop-off centre.

The three other Strickland children, aged 10, 7, and 5, have been able to return to school after people kindly donated uniforms.

Those wanting to give money to the family have been taking it to the Crabbes Creek general store.

Shane Vincent, whose father owns the store, said many people had al- ready donated, but that his family were still accepting cash on the Stricklands' behalf.

Mr Strickland said he and his family desperately want to remain in the Crabbes Creek area and were still seeking permanent accommodation.

He was yesterday looking at available accommodation in Ocean Shores.

“Our immediate needs have been met,” he said.

“We've had ample clothing supplied to us and the kids have had plenty of toys.

“We've been given a home for a couple of nights.

“People are so kind.”

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