Thanks from a Tamworth couple

THANKS AND BE WARNED: Stuart and Marion Andrews, among the ashes of their shed and carport, have thanked firefighters and neighbours and warned others to avoid their mistakes. Photo: Geoff O Neill 280814GOB02

THANKS AND BE WARNED: Stuart and Marion Andrews, among the ashes of their shed and carport, have thanked firefighters and neighbours and warned others to avoid their mistakes. Photo: Geoff O Neill 280814GOB02

A TAMWORTH couple have thanked those who put out their house fire and have a warning for others.

Stuart and Marion Andrews' shed and outdoor area caught alight on Sunday, August 10 while they weren't home, with their house saved by neighbours and NSW Fire and Rescue firefighters.

Reverend Andrews is the minister at St Stephen's, but on this Sunday they went to Scots Moonbi, so they were in more of a hurry than usual.

Mrs Andrews said she took ashes from the stove outside that morning and let them stand before emptying them, but because they were in a hurry, Reverend Andrews wanted to get an early start on the chores and saw only grey ashes, so he emptied them into the garden behind the shed.

These caught alight in the dry leaves, spread to two mulch bins that caught fire and ignited the climbing rose.

Max McGee, their neighbour at the back, noticed the smoke and called NSW Fire and Rescue which promptly attended and extinguished the blaze.

Mr McGee hosed the area with a garden hose until the fire brigade arrived.

Their next door neighbour, Betty Chapman, attempted to contact the church to break the news and another neighbour, Brian Rixon, drove to Moonbi to tell them in person.

Mrs Andrews said they were thankful for many things that she had Reverend Andrews prune the banksia in previous weeks, which meant the fire did not spread to their house.

However, they lost many cherished items in the blaze. "Stuart is a handyman and woodworker and his shed provided satisfying time out from face-to-face ministry," Mrs Andrews said.

Mrs Andrews said they had also learned many lessons after the fire.

She said dry mulch was dangerous, compost should be kept wet, the climbing rose she admired was building up a fire hazard of dead leaves and twigs on the roof so beauty can be dangerous and, lastly, she said it was time to declutter.

"We are both thankful there was no loss of life and everything we want to replace, can be replaced," Mrs Andrews said.

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