Community rallies around family left homeless after house fire  ( admin posted on February 21st, 2019 )

THE SMALL community of Colly Blue near Spring Ridge has rallied around a family of five who have lost everything in a house fire.
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The fire is believed to have been started by Christmas lights on a tree which the Horne family had decorated the day before the fire completely destroyed their Premer Rd home on Sunday morning.

A neighbour was the first to raise the alarm at 2.45am Sunday after hearing a loud noise and seeing a ‘large orange glow’ outside his window.

Calling triple 000, he said he saw the family leaving the property in their vehicles with the timber house well alight behind them.

Brigades from nearby Yannergee, Premer and Spring Ridge arrived at the scene at 3am but the house could not be saved and only a stone chimney remains.

“The flames nearly 100ft in the air, there was no chance for the house.

In two hours it was totally destroyed,” the neighbour said.”They were left with just the clothes on their backs and on their washing line.

“The small locality of Colly Blue, 100 kilometres south of Tamworth near Spring Ridge has just six homes but the community has quickly rallied, with one farmer offering a home to the displaced family for as long as they require it.

Others have offered clothes and television sets to the family of five, including Roy and Lynn Horne, 14-year-old Deejay, 21-year-old Katy and 22-year-old Rebecca who is heavily pregnant.

“They have lost everything,” daughter Crystal Tooth said.

Mrs Tooth said she wanted to help her family in any way she could and hoped the community would assist them, in the spirit of giving that Christmas promoted.

“Anything would be a help,” she said.

“Being so close to Christmas, they’ve lost all their Christmas presents and all their belongings.

“The family had lived in the home for at least six years, since they moved from Werris Creek to the village of Colly Blue.

The fire is the second within a month for the village; just four weeks ago a bushfire ripped through the area, threatening homes and burning out an area of more than 35 hectares.

Neighbours reported the fire quickly consumed paddocks and scrub land between homes but was stopped just before the fence line of the Horne’s property.

“We nearly lost three or four houses that day.

It was very lucky that it got under control quickly or it could have turned out very differently,” a neighbour said.

Inspector Steve Hall from the Liverpool Range RFS zone said although investigations were continuing, the fire was believed to have been caused by lights on a Christmas tree.

“It’s very unfortunate, particularly at this time of year. It’s a timely reminder that residents need to very careful when decorating their homes and businesses.

“It’s very important to be careful not to overload power points or trees.”

Inspector Paul Johnson from Oxley Local Area Command said the residents were lucky to escape with their lives.

“The male resident was awoken by the smoke alarms, noticed a fire in the dining room and evacuated the family immediately,” Inspector Johnson said.

“Smoke alarms save lives.”

If you can help out the Horne family, contact Crystal on 0413 809126.

A house at Colly Blue has been completely destroyed in a weekend fire. Photo: Peter Lorimer

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