Woman flees deadly blaze
By GEOFF ROUNDS
A WOMAN ran screaming for her life as fire destroyed her Cobaki home yesterday morning.
An electrical fault near the back of the rented four-bedroom brick house in Cobaki Road is believed to have sparked the blaze which demolished the building in just 40 minutes.
The woman, who has lived in the house for the past 18 months, fled to a neighbour's property who then alerted firefighters.
She was inside when the fire took hold.
While being treated for smoke inhalation by ambulance officers in the driveway of a neighbour's property, she watched in tears as the fire claimed all of her possessions.
Alan Willoughby, who lives across the road from the fire-ravaged house, said his wife Jackie telephoned the fire brigade and then comforted the woman until help arrived.
"The lady was devastated and distraught when she came to us," Mr Willoughby said.
"My wife got on the phone and rang the fire brigade. I just jumped in the car and by the time I got here the place was in flames.
"In 10 minutes I just watched it (fire) go from one end to the other."
Fire crews from Bilambil, Cudgen and Tweed Heads attended the blaze which took nearly an hour to contain.
Tweed Heads fire station officer Leo Ayoub said functioning smoke alarms were the main reason the woman survived.
"The occupant was home at the time and if there had not been smoke alarms installed there would definitely have been injury to someone," he said.
"The rapport and response between all units today has been sensational.
"We have utilised water from the swimming pool on the property, that's helped us in a big way.
"We have live power lines here which did hinder our operation a little."
Another neighbour, 73-year-old Alan Blundell, watched windows explode and was concerned for the woman until told she had escaped.
"It was amazing just watching the flames and then seeing the windows pop out one by one," Mr Blundell said.
Police said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the fire.
"We're unsure how it really started but it's accidental. It appears to be an electrical fault," said duty officer Darren Steel of Tweed police.