A COFFS Harbour man whose family narrowly escaped a house fire at the weekend ran back into the burning home fearing a toddler was trapped inside.
The young father mounted his frantic search on Saturday morning as flames engulfed the Burke St house.
As he ran between the smoke-filled rooms, witnesses say windows shattered under the intense heat.
Fortunately, the missing child was found hiding under the house.
He escaped the blaze safe and well, along with four other children and the young couple, who sadly lost everything in the fire.
Friend of the family, Lee Tyler, was on her way to pick her teenage son up from the address at the time.
She turned into Burke St and found the female occupant of the home in a state of panic running down the road.
“She yelled out ‘the house is on fire’ call 000,” Ms Tyler said. “The poor family, they have been renting the home and have lost everything.
“It’s terrible they have lost the lot.”
As the family were consoled by neighbours, bystanders captured the front page image.
The Coffs Harbour Fire Station received multiple calls and arrived on the scene just after 9am, but by that stage the fibro home “was well engulfed”.
Firefighters said flames were rising five metres into the air above the house when hoses were deployed.
It took the crews just under half an hour to extinguish the blaze.
Police said the investigation has found the fire may have been caused by a toddler playing with a cigarette lighter.
The house was so extensively damaged it will have to be demolished.
The Salvation Army and social workers are assisting and counselling the family.
Donations can be made by calling the Coffs Harbour Salvos on 6650 0928.
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