Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Fire destroys family home

A Tocumwal family says they have been 'touched' by the community's support after their home was destroyed by fire Friday, last week.

SOPHIE BURGE June 20, 2014 11:20am

Local couple Kevin and Jan McCumstie have been left devastated after fire destroyed their Tocumwal home on Friday about 12.30pm.

Mr McCumstie was at home when the fire started. He could smell smoke coming from the ceiling and went outside to investigate.

‘‘There were flames 20 feet high coming from the roof. I called Triple zero and then started to try and put the fire out myself.

‘‘I grabbed the hose but it’s bore water, so once the electricity went out so did the water supply,’’ Mr McCumstie said.

Unfortunately the fire had quickly spread through the airconditioning ducts in the roof and there was little firefighters could do to save the brick veneer home.

The outer walls of the home are still intact, but the damage inside the roof and home is extensive and most of the family’s possessions were destroyed or severely damaged by the smoke.

At this stage the family is not sure whether the five-bedroom home will be repaired, or demolished and re-built. That will be up to our insurance company, Mr McCumstie said.

‘‘Our insurance company, Youi, has been amazing and have us staying in a motel,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re now looking to rent a furnished house in the area for at least six to eight months.’’

The fire reportedly started in an airconditioning unit even though it had not been used for four years, according to the family.

It is believed some water found its way into the unit, shorted out the wiring and sparked the fire.

Mr McCumstie said because the fire was inside the roof it did not set off the fire alarms attached to the ceiling.

Mr McCumstie’s daughter, Sueanne McCumstie, said the ordeal had been a huge shock but could have been much worse.

‘‘We’re incredibly thankful to the firefighters for their prompt attendance and the care they took when entering the roof to put the fire out. Also to the other emergency services — police and paramedics — who were on the scene.

‘‘Yes, the fire has been devastating but as is often the case with these incidents, it brings out the community spirit.

‘‘Our whole family is touched by the outpouring of support we’ve received from neighbours and friends, and even further down the line to friends of friends. It really has been amazing.’’

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