Family lose everything

Jake, Garry and Sandy Elwood, who lost their Narla Retreat home, with Stacey Delich.
Jake, Garry and Sandy Elwood, who lost their Narla Retreat home, with Stacey Delich.

They found out from a photo posted on social media by a friend ” a CALM officer ” almost immediately after the fire had passed.

Sandy Elwood displayed a photo of the blackened Stoneville block containing burnt- out cars and rubble where her timber pride and joy had once stood.

Mrs Elwood fled the fire with her daughter-in-law Stacey Delich at 12.30pm on Sunday, while husband Garry and son Matthew remained to defend the property.

‘We heard the sirens at about 11 and watched the helicopters go over,’ she said.

‘The two of us (Sandra and Stacey) left about 12.30-1pm.

‘Matthew and Garry stayed to fight the fire and hose down the house. Then, all of a sudden, the front and back yards were on fire, so they bolted in a car and on a bike.

‘That’s the last we saw of the home.’

The family realise the road to recovery will be long and difficult, but Mrs Elwood’s optimism and sense of humour remain untouched by the tragedy.

‘We’re staying at a friend’s house, we’re safe, we got the animals out, except for the chickens, so we’ve probably got about 10 barbecue chickens ready for us when we get home,’ she said.

‘The response from friends and other members of the Hills community has been overwhelming,’ Mrs Elwood said.

‘People have gone so far over and above what I expected.’

She said among the items lost were five cars, including a restored XB Falcon and 1963 Fairlane, a Barbie doll collection, several computers and a slushy machine.