Bilambil Heights house razed
A FIRE which gutted a family home at Bilambil Heights on the weekend, was yesterday described as a "scary fireball" by nearby residents who said embers threatened to ignite their homes. It is understood only one woman was home at the time of the fire. Residents said the woman came running out of the house yelling "fire, fire" moments before it was engulfed. Her husband was away at the time but rushed back home after a frantic call from his wife. The couple's children were not home. "It was just incredible," one resident, who asked not to be identified, said yesterday. "At one stage we were standing on the back deck and we were hit by a wall of incredible heat. "And then embers started landing so I had to hose down my own deck. The flames were 20 feet high." Firefighters were called to the two-storey house fire on Fir Street at %Bilambil Heights just after 9pm on Saturday, but could not save the home which was well alight by the time they arrived. At one stage firefighters were%hosing the fire from a pool area when the roof collapsed inwards, forcing them to retreat. Another firefighter had to be%taken to hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. "We were concerned the fire's emx bers could have sparked a fire in the gully below," firefighter David Hardcastle said. "When the roof collapsed there was just a big ball of fire and embers flying everywhere." Firefighters were back on the scene yesterday checking on the burnedout remains which were still smouldering mid-morning. The house was so extensively damaged that parts of the charred roof structure were perched precariously on a flimsy railing. The pool, which was believed to have been empty at the time, melted from the extreme heat. Residents said that during the raging fire "explosions" could be heard, prompting concerns of a gas cylinder explosion. Police believe the fire was sparked by an electrical fault. Also of concern to some nearby residents were a number of eucalypt trees growing just below the line of houses. "I've been wanting those eucalypts trimmed for ages," a neighbour said. "They would just go up in a bushfire." Forensic officers are investigating the cause of the fire.