‘Double homeless’: Boy watches house burn

 

Jarrod McInnes spent Tuesday staring out the window of his primary school watching his dad fight to save their house from a wall of fire.

At the same time, the eight-year-old saw his new home - the one his father was about to buy just across the road - burn to the ground.

"I was a little bit scared because I was sort of thinking we were going to be double homeless," the schoolboy tells AAP in the fire-ravaged NSW town of Rappville.

"Dad told me to go to the school. I was watching, going back and forth, that window, then out that door, then back to that window and then back out the door.

"There was one fire on one side, and then there was another fire at the back and I could see my dad. I feel lucky now because we still have our house - somewhere to sleep."

Ruth Harriman, 68, pictured on her property in the Ewingar area where she managed to save her house with a water tank on the back of her ute. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Ruth Harriman, 68, pictured on her property in the Ewingar area where she managed to save her house with a water tank on the back of her ute. Picture: Dylan Robinson

Jarrod's dad Kam McInnes should have been at the bank this week, finalising a loan for the new place opposite his and the school, but there's no need for that now.

Instead he spent Thursday keeping a close watch on spot fires that continue to burn around the house he managed to save, first with hoses and then, after the power went, with water he bucketed out of his spa.

"I had to fight for it, that's for sure," he tells AAP. "But I'm alive."

It comes as one couple was killed and at least 29 homes were destroyed in bushfires across northern NSW this week.

More than 30 fires continue to burn, 13 of which are uncontained. Two major blazes at Drake near Tenterfield and at Busbys Flat near Rappville have joined to form a massive fire, the RFS says. It has burned through more than 110,000 hectares.

Ruth Harriman's property in the Ewingar area. Picture: Dylan Robinson
Ruth Harriman's property in the Ewingar area. Picture: Dylan Robinson

The remains of a 77-year-old man and 68-year-old woman - reported to be married couple Bob Lindsey and Gwen Hyde - were found in their Coongbar Home on Thursday.

The home was destroyed when the Drake fire roared through the region on Tuesday. At least 29 homes have been destroyed and nine have been damaged, with that number expected to climb as assessments continue.

A further 72 outbuildings and two community facilities have been razed. Rappville's Tarmac Sawmill has been destroyed, with Richmond Valley mayor Robert Mustow saying it will hurt 30 employees and have a "big impact on our community".

The NSW Rural Fire Service says milder weather has helped give firefighters the upper hand, with favourable conditions expected to continue for the next few days.

RFS deputy commissioner Rob Rogers told 2GB they are hoping for rain on Friday and Saturday but the concern is that it will stay fairly coastal and won't get inland.

A NSW RFS helicopter seen from Casino Airport and NSW RFS Control Centre. Picture: Dylan Robinson
A NSW RFS helicopter seen from Casino Airport and NSW RFS Control Centre. Picture: Dylan Robinson

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