Low water pressure impeded fight against Evans house fire

GUTTED: Lani Cloos-Torrens stands in front of the remains of her Evans Head home that was destroyed by fire over the weekend.
GUTTED: Lani Cloos-Torrens stands in front of the remains of her Evans Head home that was destroyed by fire over the weekend. Patrick Gorbunovs

AFTER Saturday morning's devastating house fire at Evans Head, residents and firefighters have complained about the low water pressure in the neighbourhood, which could have seen things go worse than they did.

Captain at Fire and Rescue NSW's Evans Head Base, Ralph Lohse, said that the water pressure had been "pretty bad" and that it "took a while to get around it".

"We knew there was low water pressure up there, but not as low as it was - and with it being night, and not many people using water, we didn't envision it would be as big a problem as it was," he said.

Family grateful no-one was hurt

Mr Lohse said the firies had called in extra resources to compensate for the pressure, but had the wind been stronger, that could have brought in more problems, and neighbouring houses may have been damaged.

He said the fire originated in the garage and could have been from a cigarette that hadn't been .

Working smoke detectors saved the residents' lives.

Neighbours said the water pressure in their area has been bad for years.

Kevin Aleckson has lived on the block for 25 years and said it was "absolutely shocking".

"I'd say (our water pressure is) probably a third of the pressure of downtown," Mr Aleckson said.

"I'd like it better, even to the extent that I'm going to put on my own pressure pump.

"In the events of the other night, there was no way we could have done anything to help with the pressure we've got here.

"If the wind had have been from a different direction, a southerly, they would have lost the house next door."

A spokeswoman from Richmond Valley Council said yesterday that they had not been aware that water pressure was an issue in town, but will certainly now be looking into it, as well as having a discussion with the fire brigade.

Family grateful no-one was hurt

TIM and Diane Torrens, the residents of the now destroyed home, said while the loss was devastating, they were simply "thanking god" that no one was injured in the blaze.

"It is heart breaking. I know material things can be replaced - but photos we'll never get back. The most important thing is that everyone is safe," Mrs Torrens said. 

She said they were touched by the kindness the community of Evans Head had shown in the past few days, and extended their thanks to the Chill Cafe at Evans Head, who have set themselves up as a "drop off point'' for any goods or donations.

Yesterday they still weren't sure where they would be sleeping tonight.


ITEMS like non-perishable foods, clothing and linen can be dropped off at the Chill Cafe, Woodburn St, Evans Head. Money for the family can be left in the donations tin on the cafe's counter.

Topics:  fire nsw fire and rescue

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