Fatal: Firefighters battle the fire which claimed an elderly woman’s life at Chinderah.
Fatal: Firefighters battle the fire which claimed an elderly woman’s life at Chinderah. Blainey Woodham

Woman dies in caravan blaze

AS flames engulfed a caravan at Chinderah yesterday morning, horrified neighbours watched on with one shocking thought on their minds.

“There is someone in there.”

The body of an elderly woman, who has yet to be formally identified, was found after fire tore through her caravan at the Homestead Holiday Park on Chinderah Bay Drive.

Nearby residents tried in vain to battle the blaze with their garden hoses before 15 firefighters from Tweed Heads, Banora Point and Kingscliff fire stations arrived to extinguish the flames about 8.20am.

The fire was contained within 40 minutes.

“Fire officers extinguished the flames and located a body inside the van,” a New South Wales police spokesman said.

“The body has yet to be formally identified but it was believed to be that of a 69-year-old woman.”

Police yesterday established a crime scene in the holiday park.

A fire investigator from Sydney began looking into the cause of the blaze.

Kingscliff Fire Station officer Leo Ayoub said three evacuated residents from nearby caravans had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

“Two properties adjoining the burning caravan were also damaged, one with minor structural damage and severe smoke damage. The other unit sustained severe smoke damage,” Mr Ayoub said.

“Two cars were also severely damaged by the fire.”

Mr Ayoub said the fatal fire showed the importance of having working smoke alarms in all residential properties.

“The fire advanced rapidly because of the light- weight construction,” he said.

Neighbours said the elderly woman had returned to her caravan the day before following a stint in hospital.

They believed oxygen tanks could have been present inside at the time.

Neighbour Dale Milton, 44, said it took just minutes for the caravan to become fully engulfed by the flames.

“I looked out the window and could just see black smoke pluming,” Mr Milton said.

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.



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