Tocumwal home razed on Tuesday

By Daniel Hughes

Tocumwal residents rallied quickly to provide assistance to Paul and Sharon Stevens yesterday,  just hours after the couple’s Tocumwal home was destroyed by flames.

The fire began just before 6am, and the couple had only just made it to the roadside before the home was fully engulfed.

Mr Stevens was preparing to leave for work, and luckily noticed the flames and woke his sleeping wife in time to escape.

‘‘We have no idea how it happened,’’ Mrs Stevens told the Southern Riverina News.

‘‘I was still half asleep in bed when Paul asked if I smelt anything, which I couldn’t.

‘‘He went into the kitchen and saw fire dripping from the ceiling, he ran back into the bedroom and told me ‘get out of the house now’.

‘‘It’s hard to think about, because I couldn’t smell it and if he wasn’t up getting ready for work who knows where I’d be right now.

‘‘We were out on the curb straight away and before we knew it, the roof was completely on fire.

‘‘It happened so quickly that the fire had taken over the roof before the smoke alarms went off.’’

The fire had completely consumed the home before firefighters could make it to the property.

Tocumwal Fire & Rescue NSW called in assistance from Finley and Deniliquin FRNSW and the Rural Fire Service to douse the flames. Police were also on scene.

Firefighting efforts continued for about one hour before the blaze was brought under control.

Simultaneously, protection measures were put in place to prevent surrounding properties from catching alight.

The Stevens’ were in the process of doing minor renovations at the home, including to establish a nursery for their first child together.

‘‘I’m currently 25 weeks pregnant and everything we had for the baby, we’ve lost,’’ Mrs Stevens said.

‘‘We lost all our ultra-sounds and gifts that had been handed down through family that we will never get back.’’

Mrs Stevens said the support received from the community already has been overwhelming.

‘‘We’ve already had offers of free accommodation, clothes and food.

‘‘Everyone has been so amazing; the vet and pharmacy made up our scripts and had them ready for us before we even asked. 

‘‘We are so thankful for the help we have received so far. The generosity of this community is incredible.’’