Family memories lost as fire destroys home

Terry, Jenelle and Arenea Norris with her boyfriend Crusoe Bower and daughter Lyla at what remains of their burnt down house at Pumpenbil.
Terry, Jenelle and Arenea Norris with her boyfriend Crusoe Bower and daughter Lyla at what remains of their burnt down house at Pumpenbil. Nolan Verheij-Full

WHAT was once a beautiful family home was reduced to ash this week - and it's possible it could have been prevented.

Pumpenbil couple Terry and Janelle Norris were shattered when their home of 27 years burnt to the ground.

The day before Mr Norris said a strange smell gave him concerns.

"I could smell plastic melting or burning," Mr Norris said.

"I got that smell the day before, so I started trying to contact the solar people."

They failed to return his calls and on Tuesday Mr Norris discovered the company had gone into liquidation.

Hours later, the home he built was alight.

Mr Norris said the burning smell and smoke had clearly originated from his solar system's switchbox.

It's understood the family's insurance company is still investigating,

His daughter Arenea said she'd just arrived home with her infant daughter Lyla, when Mr Norris was calling 000.

"Dad said to go in and grab a few things," Ms Norris said.

"I just didn't think it was really happening."

While he wouldn't speak against solar panels, Mr Norris expressed concerns his system was installed too hastily.

"The guy who set it up worked very quickly," he said. His home was fully insured, but Mr Norris said the hardest part was unrecoverable sentimental items.

"There's a lot of things you don't think are important until you lose them," Mr Norris said.

"I built the house, and we lived in it for 27 years."

From what remains of the Norris home, it's clear it held many memories.

Now, the charred remains of a record collection sit alongside shattered crockery.

Seedlings, once destined for the garden, are blackened and lifeless.

'Smoke was coming from box'

RURAL Fire Service Inspector Bob Wilcox said the the local brigade attended the Pumpenbil home, but were unable to control the blaze.

"The fire was believed to be caused by an electrical fault," Insp Wilcox said.

Tweed Byron LAC Inspector Darren Steel said emergency services saw smoke coming from a meter box on arrival.

"They inspected the internal wall at the meter box and established it was well alight," Insp Steel said.

"The home was evacuated before the fire took hold."

"Unfortunately, the RFS were unable to extinguish the fire before it destroyed the house."

Topics:  editors picks fire

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