ALL that was left of Bilambil man Doug Ogilvie's home of 30 years was a charred shell yesterday, after a blaze ripped through his old farmhouse.
Flames leapt into the air as fire engulfed the house about 1pm. When fire crews arrived there was nothing they could do to save it.
The couple who owned the Urliup Road house and their visitor, Peter, managed to escape relatively uninjured and could only watch as the dwelling was consumed by flames.
Emergency services rushed to the scene and New South Wales Rural Fire service units from Bilambil and Cudgen, with the help of Kingscliff firefighters, managed to prevent the fire spreading to adjoining buildings and bushland.
Water was pumped from a nearby creek to aid in the firefighting efforts and the blaze was out by about 3.30pm.
Cows wandered around a nearby paddock shrouded in smoke.
Mr Ogilvie, an ardent letter writer to the Tweed Daily News, could do nothing but watch as the ashes of his home smouldered.
Mr Ogilvie told the Tweed Daily News he had moved into the house in 1975.
When asked about what he would do, he said: “I'll cry”.
Sometimes, even the best-laid plans could come undone, Mr Ogilvie said.
“I just wanted to be quiet and happy and without trouble.”
He said it appeared the fire started in the toilet - he opened the door and saw flames.
“We just heard a big bang, the first fire we saw was coming out of the lavatory,” Mr Ogilvie said.
He tried to fight the fire with a garden hose, but the exercise proved futile.
“Geez it gets hot - within three or four minutes it became unbear- able.”
Neighbour Nick Cropp, who is related to Mr Ogilvie, saw the blaze and ran over to help.
He is a fourth-generation farmer of the Bilambil property.
Mr Cropp saw Mr Ogilvie trying to get back into the burning house and yelled “get the hell out of there”.
After he made sure the residents were safe he took some spectacular shots of the blaze, one of which is featured on our front page today.
Peter, the house guest, was re- covering from the flu and suffered some minor burns. He lost everything except for his briefcase.
Mr Ogilvie said locals had already offered him help.
Fire investigators and police were analysing the scene yesterday afternoon to determine the cause of the blaze.