Broken Hill real estate agent praises community support after fire destroys home – ABC News
A Broken Hill real estate agent has praised the community’s support after his house endured significant fire damage earlier this week.
Firefighters responded to the property fire on the corner of Chloride Street and Cummins Street early Tuesday morning, which burnt for nearly three hours before it was contained.
Police said the fire was not suspicious and an electrical issue in the building’s roof was the cause of the incident.
Jim Hickey said he was devastated by property damage, but community support had been overwhelming.
“I’ve had well over 100 calls and text messages offering help,” he said.
“Builders, plumbers, all sorts of things just offering [assistance]. That’s Broken Hill — no better place in Australia.”
Home and contents destroyed
Broken Hill Fire Station officer Dale Gillespie said crews responded to a call at 1:15am on Tuesday and arrived at the house 10 minutes later.
Supplied: Fire and Rescue Broken Hill
He said by 4:00am the fire had been extinguished.
“Unfortunately, we’ve pretty much had complete roof collapse,” Mr Gillespie said.
“Most of the contents within the building have also been destroyed.
“Crews were able to save a shed and a self-contained unit in the rear yard.”
Efforts made for rebuild
Mr Hickey said while there was not anything left to salvage from the blaze, he was optimistic about rebuilding.
He said as soon as a structural engineer arrived and had a look, they would be commencing building work.
“I’ll have the forensic people come up and clean … and then we’ll start the rebuild,” Mr Hickey said.
“The next thing is to find some builders. I want local guys; I trust local guys.
“I’m sure between us we can get it done.”
‘You’ve lost everything’
Mr Hickey said he had been to several hundred small house fires over the years to do valuations.
He said he now fully understood the emotional toll the experience had on people.
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“All of sudden, you realise the devastation that you’ve got nothing,” Mr Hickey said.
“Even the stage of me saying, ‘I’ll put some old clothes on and go over and have a look’ and my daughter said, ‘You’ve got no old clothes, Dad.'”
He said it was a traumatic time for people after experiencing a house fire.
“You’ve lost everything. You’ve got what’s in your suitcase, if you weren’t there [to rescue more],” Mr Hickey said.
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He said it was a surreal experience as he reflected on the items and family history that were lost in the blaze.
“[There’s] stuff in that house that come from my parents that you can’t replace,” Mr Hickey said.
“I think you’ve got to face it and move on but it’s always going to be emotional to you.
“It’s your life … it’s where your children grew up.”
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