One house lost: Victim tells of fire’s merciless speed

An 89-year-old widow who lost her home and beloved cat in the Peregian fire says she's taking the devastation in her "stride".

When the fire came to the doorstep of Pam Murphy's home of 40 years, it came quick.

"I knew the fire was coming but I could see no flames nothing whatsoever," she said.

"And then, five minutes later I looked out and flames were leaping all up my garden ... god it was quick."

Peregian Beach resident Pam Murphy, who lost her home in the devastating fire, with neighbour Lester Harding.
Peregian Beach resident Pam Murphy, who lost her home in the devastating fire, with neighbour Lester Harding.

Ms Murphy rushed to get the things she loved most - her Burmese twin cats Daisy and Allie.

"I had to fight them to get one of them in the cage and the other ran away and she's probably died," she said.

The talented artist left all her valuables behind and raced to the Noosa evacuation centre.

She was unsure what became of her home until she turned on the television.

Aerial over bushfire damage at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Photo Lachie Millard
Aerial over bushfire damage at Peregian Beach on the Sunshine Coast. Photo Lachie Millard

"I saw it on the ABC news, it was taken from above and I recognized the house either side of mine and here was this shell in the middle. That was me. It's completely gutted," she told the Courier Mail.

"The others are a bit damaged but mine is completely gone."

Left behind are troves of precious belongings, antiques and her prized paintings.

"I have stacks of heirlooms some from the early 1800s and photos," she said.

Ms Murphy is remaining stoic about her situation but said things could change when she actually confronts the carnage later today.

"Well i have been through a lot of different things in my life, you know I'm coming up 90 so you sort of take things in stride," she said.

"l have to. There's no point in getting upset because I haven't seen the house yet.

"When I see that and all the stuff dating back generations, about 45 generations, and very valuable things that will probably upset me more."

Ms Murphy, who is insured, said she hoped her cat that got away, Daisy, had survived by the fire.

"Well she's always looked after herself and I always had a window open for you to get out of the house," she said.

"And so I'm hoping she's got out and gone to one of the other homes that weren't Upset in the fire."


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