'Everything is just gone'
IT ONLY took minutes for a bushfire in Beecher yesterday to obliterate a decade of memories at Sandra Vickery's former home.
"Everything's just gone," said an emotional Ms Vickery, surveying the damage at the shed on Upton Rd, Beecher which was destroyed by a bushfire on Monday afternoon.
"All the photographs, the children'' first lock of hair," she said.
Sandra built the shed on Upton Rd more than 10 years ago, raising poles and constructing the simple dwelling she lived happily in for a decade with partner Steve Bagust and children Riley, 10, Maddie, 8, Andy, 3, and Mikayla, 18 months.
"The shed got a bit small with four kids, so we've been renting in Calliope," Sandra said. "But we were going to move back in next month, because of rent hikes," she said.
After checking the shed several times during the weekend, Sandra and Steve thought they'd dodged a bullet with the shed sustaining no damage during the fire's peak.
"On Monday afternoon we came back and the fire crews wouldn't let us in," Sandra said. "We came back today to check if the pig was okay and the place was burned to the ground."
The family have lost computers, camping gear, furniture and books in the blaze but because the shed was not an approved dwelling, their losses are not insured.
But while no insurance can compensate for the loss of precious memorabilia such as baby photos and Sandra's 2003 Harbour Festival Fundraising Queen sash, they're relieved the seventh member of the family, pig "Jessie" survived the ordeal.
Fire officers found the parched 12-year-old family pet, that lives at the shed, on Tuesday morning and supplied her with plenty to drink as well as a water-filled hole she can wallow in.
Despite being trapped in her enclosure during the fire, Jessie was given a clean bill of health by a veterinarian late on Tuesday afternoon.
RSPCA inspector Laurie Stageman said the pig's survival was a miracle.
"It's got me stuffed how she survived," Mr Stageman said.
"You would have had all that smoke build-up, all the heat - that would kill a pig. The whole place was gutted," he said.
"She didn't want to be roast pork after all," said a relieved Sandra.
Jessie the pig is now homeless.
She will be staying at the Calliope kennels until a foster carer can be found for the lucky piggy.
Make your garden fire resistant
Remove highly flammable leaf litter from around your property
Avoid 'continuity of fuel' - trees and shrubs that touch each other - thin out or remove
Avoid flammable species of tree with loose fibrous park or conifers
Fire retardant plants like Australian natives should be the mainstay of your block
No plant is completely fire proof nor guaranteed to save your home