House razed in morning furnace
WHEN Justin Wells woke at 5am yesterday to the sound of breaking glass he looked out his window and saw his neighbour's house engulfed in flames.
The Burringbar resident immediately called the fire brigade and then could do little else but watch as the flames quickly swallowed the two-storey house.
All that remained at the Waranga Court property by the afternoon was a pile of rubble and twisted metal that had once been the roof.
In the darkness of the morning, Mr Wells stood at the end of his neighbour's driveway, watching as the flames lit up the sky.
The house, made from red cedar, was destroyed in a matter of minutes, he said.
“I heard some breaking glass and something crashing,” Mr Wells said.
“I saw a bit of a flicker of light and called the emergency services to attend.
“I didn't go near the house because I was worried about any powerlines or exploding gas bottles, but there wasn't much I could do.”
Mr Wells said the Burringbar Rural Fire Service (RFS) arrived about 15 minutes later, but by that stage the house was completely alight.
“I went to work at 6am and the house was pretty much all gone by then,” he said.
Another neighbour, Michael Makin, also watched as the house burned to the ground.
“My wife heard a bang but I was still asleep,” Mr Makin said.
“Then we heard the fire brigade coming down our driveway.
“The whole house was on fire and it was above us (on the hill).
“There were a lot of embers going everywhere, and just the glow of it was spectacular.”
It is understood the owner of the house had recently moved to Brisbane and had been trying to sell the property.
The rubble was still smouldering yesterday afternoon as police forensic investigators combed through it searching for evidence.
Inspector Jim Kain of Tweed/Byron Police said police were treating the blaze as suspicious.
The Burringbar RFS remained at the scene nine-and-a-half hours after they had arrived to find the house ablaze.
“It was fully engulfed,” Captain Mitchell Paron said. “Because it was a two-storey house, it just dropped, and everything underneath it was smouldering.
“There was no sign of injury or of anyone in the house.”
Mr Paron said with the thick vegetation surrounding the home, the entire area could have ignited had it not been so wet.
“Thank God for all the rain we've just had,” he said.
Mr Makin said he had been slightly worried about his own home after seeing the embers shooting from the fire.
“Living in the bush, between that house and ours there is just trees,” he said.