Call for donations as Moama house goes up in flames

By Ivy Jensen

A 61-YEAR-OLD Moama man has seen 10-years of DIY renovations go up in flames in a fiery inferno on Monday evening.

Steve Walker was repairing a lawnmower he had been trying to get going for the past few weeks when it sent sparks into his Francis St garage about 6.15pm.

He said a fire broke out immediately and although he had two fire extinguishers and started spraying it straight after he saw the first flames, it spread too fast — eventually engulfing the entire house.

Steve, who has just finished cancer treatment, was left helplessly looking on as the fire destroyed the brick home and everything inside.

‘‘I did everything I could do, but it just took off, and I was worried about my neighbours and their houses,’’ the shaken man said.

One of those, a woman who gave her name as Sarah, said she was in her kitchen when she saw a man waving at her through the window and shouting at her to get out of the house.

‘‘I went outside and saw all the smoke and flames,’’ Sarah said.

‘‘I had to run back into my house and grab my two-year-old daughter and then we got out as fast as we could.

‘‘It was a bit scary at the start. There was flames everywhere and everything was black. I thought it was going to spread to my house.’’

Moama, Deniliquin and Echuca fire units attended the blaze but there was nothing they could do to save the brick home.

‘‘The house was unsaveable,’’ Moama Fire and Rescue NSW deputy captain Gavin Milgate said.

‘‘The whole roof structure fell in. It’s completely gutted.’’

The main job for firefighters was to ensure the flames did not start spot fires on neighbouring houses.

‘‘We cordoned off the area to make sure the two houses on either side were safe because the fire really took hold,’’ Mr Milgate said.

‘‘It was a really intense fire with a fair bit of heat coming from it.’’

Mr Milgate said the quick actions of bystanders ensured the man’s motorbike, boat and caravan were saved from the flames.

He said there were two oil drums in the garage but they were empty.

Steve had to be treated by ambulance crews for shock and to ensure he had no burns or smoke inhalation before they gave him the all-clear.

Fire crews worked for several hours blackening out the fire; the last unit leaving about 10.30pm.

Moama Fire and Rescue's Phil Masters issued a warning after some bystanders got too close to the fire.

“Due to the large number of bystanders present, we would encourage people to stay well back from an incident of this size and keep the area clear for emergency personnel to be able to do their job correctly and keep the scene safe,” he said.