AS Deena Hanlon sped home from her shift at Taree, she could hear the sound of her family screaming and yelling over the phone.
At around 4.30am she received a call from her husband Chris telling her their home was on fire. Deena kept calling home as she made her way back to Kendall.
“The last phone call, all I could hear was the kids screaming and Chris yelling then the phone went dead,” Deena said.
“When I got there and saw everyone out the front and ok, I couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone was wondering why I was smiling but I was so happy to see they were all ok, I didn’t care about the house.”
The Hanlon family lost all their possessions in the fire that tore through their home last Thursday morning.
Chris said he woke at around 4am, noticed smoke in the house and quickly woke the three children and got them out of the house before attempting to find the fire source.
“My first thought was to just get the kids out,” Chris said.
“At that stage I couldn’t see any flames, but I wanted to make sure the kids were out. I found the fire in the outside wall of the main bedroom. I tried to put it out with a hose but I could hear it crackling in the walls.
“I phoned the fire brigade and a neighbour is in the fire brigade and he tried to help with a CO2 extinguisher but that didn’t touch the fire and by that stage we could hear the noise of the fire in the roof.
“There was nothing the fire brigade could do. The whole house was on fire.”
Later that morning, after the fire had burnt out, the family took stock of their losses. Deena managed to find a couple of wedding photos and some photos of the children Courtney, Zack and Rhys.
Chris said the children are handling the crisis well.
“They’re fairly positive,” he said.
“We’re trying to keep things normal. The boys played footy on Saturday and they went back to school on Monday.”
The community have rallied behind the family and Chris and Deena said they have been overwhelmed and humbled by the support.
“Thursday afternoon we had donations of clothing, someone brought up a slab of beer, we’ve had offers of places to stay, the whole community has been asking what they can do for us. It’s been overwhelming and I don’t know how to thank everyone.”
The Camden Haven Eagles have offered to replace the boys’ footy jumpers and boots, the Kendall Blues have rallied to help the family along with the local pony club, Salvation Army, Kendall Public School and Camden Haven High School with new uniforms and food vouchers from Woolworths. Friends, family and neighbours have offered plenty of help along with many well-wishers via phone and facebook.
“The amount of support has really floored us,” Chris said.
The Hanlons are staying with neighbours, who have offered them a home until they can rebuild.
“We will rebuild, probably won’t go for a log cabin style this time, I’d say we’ll build from more fire retardant materials,” Chris said.
On Friday police, insurance and forensic investigators assessed the home. The cause of the fire has not been confirmed. Clues are pointing to a possible electrical fault.