The Patti family had a lucky escape with the fire just about claiming their house. They didn't come away unscathed though.
The Patti family had a lucky escape with the fire just about claiming their house. They didn't come away unscathed though. Contributed

'A miracle': Family home lucky to still be standing

THE Patti family say it's a miracle that they still have a home after fire engulfed their property and surrounds on Friday night.

All they could do was watch on from a distance, not knowing until the following day if they would return to wreck and ruin.

"We knew it was was going to be bad bushfire weather and coincidentally on the Friday before I wrote down a plan for what would happen if it happened," Holly Patti said.

"I wrote down what I'd take from the house. By the time I saw the smoke and looked up the weather - we were in the direct line of it.

"We just watched and it was okay for a while but when it started to get close I packed our gear and took sentimental stuff from the house.

"I got my mum in and she took the pets and our son, who is 20 months old, and she took them all to her place."

They did what they could for a time, until it became too unsafe.

"The house next door was under threat and when the wind changed we were just engulfed."

Their home is along the New England Highway around Mount Banca, an area which was decimated by the inferno.

"The speed and size of the spot fires was incredible and the embers were like a snow blizzard. When the wind changed our property was on fire in 60 seconds. I'll never forget it.

"In the time it took to drive out our drive way it turned to Armageddon."

They endured a sleepless night - returning on Saturday morning to miraculously find their house still standing.

All that they'd lost was a shed and tanks.

"We kind of forgot about the shed and getting stuff out.

"It is heartbreaking. There were so many sentimental things in storage, my husbands bar area, all our camping gear, ride on mower and so much more.

"You just keep remembering - 'oh that's right that was in there'. My toys from when I was a kid that I was going to give to my kids.

"But to be honest we were expecting to just return to rubble and all our worldly possessions gone."

The home is smoke damaged and without power and water. They were insured and the family is staying in emergency accommodation in town until they can return.

"It'll be a few weeks at least before we can go back.

"The smoke in the house isn't bushfire smoke, it's toxic from the shed burning.

"We're just so thankful for everyone's help and offers.

"Its terrible but we're very grateful we've got a house still," she said.

Stanthorpe Border Post

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