Nothing left

A Swan Hill family fled a blazing inferno which destroyed their Garden Court home in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Bryan Gray, Jessica Creely and Fiona Gray had a lucky escape after fire tore through their Garden Court home on Sunday morning. The family lost all of their belongings in the devastating blaze. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

Bryan Gray, Jessica Creely and Fiona Gray had a lucky escape after fire tore through their Garden Court home on Sunday morning. The family lost all of their belongings in the devastating blaze. Picture: CAITLIN McARTHUR

Fiona Gray, along with her two sons, aged three and 11, her brother Bryan and his girlfriend, Jessica Creely, were left with only the clothes on their backs after fire tore through the property, around 12.45am.

"I just screamed for everybody to get out," Ms Gray said.

A Swan Hill family has been left with only the clothes on their backs after escaping a house fire in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Fiona Gray was asleep at her Garden Court home when she was woken by what sounded like banging on a window, around 12.45am.

Ms Gray, along with her two sons, aged three and 11, her brother Bryan and his girlfriend, Jessica Creely, escaped the blazing inferno which destroyed the home.

"I heard banging or what sounded like banging on the windows," Ms Gray said.

"I called out to my brother's girlfriend, who was staying, along with my brother at the time, and she yelled out - 'fire!' "I thought someone was banging on the windows, neighbours, but it turned out it was my car exploding."

Ms Creely opened the front door to find the car and carport "well and truly alight" as Ms Gray explained what happened next as the fire spread from the carport to the house.

"I just screamed for everybody to get out," she said.

"To leave the house took us about two minutes.

"It took the fire about five or six minutes to reach the house and for the smoke alarm to go off."

The family managed to escape into the backyard, but found themselves trapped with the back gate blocked off by the burning car.

"We were stranded in the backyard for a bit, screaming for help until neighbours came and helped us over the fence, and kicked some of the fence panels in for the kids to come out," Ms Gray said.

With everybody safe, Ms Gray watched on helplessly as their belongings, including precious family photos, clothes, furniture and toys went up in flames as firefighters arrived on scene.

"The car, the house, all our belongings, everything is gone. I think the only things I own now that are intact would be the kids play set out the back, the things that were inside the shed and an old bomb [car heap] that's out in the backyard, everything else is just gone," she said.

"I only had the car (a 2003 Holden Astra) for six months, it was the best car I'd ever bloody had, it was fabulous on fuel, I can't believe it's gone.

"It's just devastating, within half an hour all of our belongings were just gone.

"We had been in that house for 11 years and nine months to the day. We moved in on February 26, 2006."

Swan Hill CFA captain Dennis Turner said firefighters are unsure what sparked the blaze, but the cause has not been deemed suspicious.

"It started in the carport and the car was fully engulfed when the people first noticed it," Cpt Turner said.

The home was already well ablaze when firefighters reached the scene.

"The ceiling in the kitchen was already down so we had it up against us, the fire had already vented through the roof," he said.

Two tankers from Swan Hill and one from Lake Boga attended, with approximately 15 firefighters on scene.

It took brigades two hours to bring the fire under control, with windy conditions and the fire's progress through the roof making things difficult.

Cpt Turner said firefighters managed to limit the fire to the house and carport, with no damage sustained to neighbouring properties. 

The decimation has left fire investigators with little to go on, he added.

For now, Ms Gray said the family is relying on help from relatives and friends to get by.

"We're staying with friends, my mum's come down from Bendigo to help me take care of a few things, we're currently going through Haven (Loddon Mallee Housing Services) and the Housing Commission to find another place, but there's nothing (available) at the moment," she said.

"As far as financial assistance I have $1000 from the Housing Commission, but I think that's really all I can get assistance with financially.

"Centrelink have said that because I have received help from another source they can't help me, which is incredible when someone is in crisis — you need more than $1000 to build your life back up."

The local police also referred the family to the Red Cross, who have since provided food and a few other items.

Born and raised in Swan Hill, Ms Gray said she wants to stay in the area and the family just has to find a way through this tough time.

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