HOUSE FIRE: 'I was yelling... they were still asleep'
AN EAST Ballina home has been completely destroyed in a fire early this morning.
Residents reported the blaze started around 1.15am.
Shannon McKellar-McLoughlin, who lives nearby, said: "It was horrible to witness someone's home (get destroyed) like that."
It is understood a young family lived in the Pine Ave home but they managed to escape the blaze.
Ms McKellar-McLouglin said it was a chaotic scene as emergency services rushed to evacuate neighbours amid fears the blaze would spread.
"We heard it and ran out whilst calling Triple-0," she said.
"Then I started to wake the neighbours; they were still asleep.
"The homes are way too close together there, plus have units underneath.
"It was (scary) but I was more worried for the (other) people... one resident was an elderly lady that was asleep and didn't wake until I was yelling and she smelt smoke.
"Lucky she had another person in there to help."
Alyson Esler wrote on the Ballina Crime Reports Facebook page: "Very sad for all people involved. One of Pine Avenue's original older homes."
The community is already reacting with offers to help the residents.
Lynette Komidar wrote: "I have a couch if needed. Food etc. Will help if possible."
At this stage it is not known what cause the fire.
More to come.