A fire rendered Ryan and Melissa Doak's century-old Axedale home uninhabitable recently, but the couple are determined to repair and rebuild.By Barbara Sungaila
Ryan and Melissa Doak have spent the past two weeks sifting through the charred remains of their belongings after a fire left their century-old Axedale home uninhabitable.
The August 9 fire began while the couple were feeding their stock.
Mrs Doak said they came back to the house and could hear the smoke detector.
‘‘So I went inside and checked the fire in what we call the toy room and went up the passage and we could see the smoke in the roof,’’ she said.
‘‘And we tried to get a hose and a bucket
Mr Doak said they closed the house up once they realised they had no hope of getting back in.
‘‘I couldn’t get five foot from the door,’’ he said.
Mrs Doak said the intensity of the blaze surprised her.
‘‘I’ve always thought ‘You can’t get your kids out of a fire?’, of course you would,’’ she said.
‘‘But after seeing that, I can see why sometimes you can’t.’’
The couple said it was lucky the damage was not worse.
Mrs Doak said they had only come back to the house to clean up before picking their two children up from daycare.
‘‘(Otherwise) we wouldn’t have come back until (the house) was gone,’’ Mr Doak said.
Initial engineer’s reports have indicated the double-brick walls are sound and the house will be repairable.
‘‘That’s some of the best news we’ve had,’’ Mr Doak said.
He said repair work would start as soon as they received the all-clear from the council.
‘‘Our bedroom’s totally gone and the bathroom’s pretty much all gone and there’s no roof
‘‘We’re going to put the roof on as soon as we can because it’s just going to wreck whatever’s left (if we don’t).’’
They were surprised by what the fire missed
Most of the original floorboards were also untouched, except for those in the couple’s bedroom.
‘‘It’s probably the three layers of carpet (which protected the floorboards) I suppose, they just kept whacking carpet over the top (of the previous layers),’’ Mr Doak said.
He said they were also lucky there was another house on the property they were able to move into.
Mrs Doak said their two children
She said Sam had enjoyed people coming to see the family.
‘‘When everyone stopped coming and visiting he was ‘So who’s going to come today?’,’’ she said.
‘‘Lil’s the one that’s not happy. She keeps going to the gate and pointing at the other house and crying.’’
Organiser Narelle Dixon said the family had not asked for assistance, but community members had come together to organise the event to raise much-needed funds to help ease some of the burden.
Tickets are available for purchase from the Axedale Tavern and the Axedale General Store at $25 a head or $60 a family.
For information, contact Narelle Dixon on 0419
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