BIG LOSS: Dave Guinea with daughters Natasha, Samantha, Isobella and Kaitlyn in front of their home, which burnt down two weeks ago.
BIG LOSS: Dave Guinea with daughters Natasha, Samantha, Isobella and Kaitlyn in front of their home, which burnt down two weeks ago. Liana Turner

First flood, then fire: disaster strikes again

LESS than a year after the Guinea family was forced to clear out of their flood-ravaged home, disaster has struck once again.

Banana farmer Dave Guinea and his four daughters were forced to move out of their Murwillumbah home and rent a house at Palmvale, near Cudgera Creek, after their house was inundated in the flood of March 31.

But their new home, along with most of their possessions, was destroyed in a sudden blaze on the afternoon of Saturday, January 20.

Luckily, no one was home at the time of the blaze.

Mr Guinea was in Murwillumbah when he received a call from his neighbour alerting him to the fire. When he arrived, the flames had already devoured most of the building.

"I was in town and I had a message on my phone... just to say my house was on fire,” Mr Guinea said.

"So I raced back out here. By the time I got here it was pretty much... gone.”

Dave Guinea's home at Palmvale during the blaze on Saturday, January 20.
Dave Guinea's home at Palmvale during the blaze on Saturday, January 20. contributed

Mr Guinea said his oldest daughter, Samantha, had since been staying with a friend, while he and his younger daughters were staying with relatives while they hunt for a new place to live.

"It's only a small unit so we're looking for a house, but they don't come up real often,” he said.

"They're hard to get, especially in Murwillumbah.

"We went to the real estate... but there's just not a lot there.”

The hardest loss, he said, was the sentimental items which survived the flood but couldn't withstand the fire. This included the urn containing his late wife's ashes.

"That's the sort of stuff that hurts the most... but we're all alive,” he said.

"If we had been in there, it could have been a whole lot worse.” Remarkably, he found a framed photograph of his late sister which was damaged, but not destroyed and his late wife's Italian coffee percolator.

To help the family get back up on their feet, friends have launched a fundraising campaign. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/vynyc-family-loses- everything-in-fire.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.



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