Members of the Karabar community have banded together to help the woman who lost her home in a fire earlier this week.
The fire overtook the Ullamulla Crescent home on Monday afternoon.
The woman’s son, Tristan Hooper, said his mother was currently in emergency housing provided by the government until permanent accommodation could be found.
Mr Hooper said his mother, who has some health concerns, was dealing quite well with the situation but was desperately missing her dogs and being in her own home. The woman’s dogs are being cared for by a neighbour.
Mr Hooper said the family had not yet been able to enter the home because of fears of asbestos contamination, so had no idea what would be able to be salvaged. The house will be examined by qualified asbestos inspectors before the family are allowed to enter.
Queanbeyan Police Inspector Mark Murphy said the fire had reached the roof cavity and spread throughout the house causing extensive damage.
He confirmed the police were not treating the fire as suspicious.
Mr Hooper said there had originally been a belief the fire was deliberately lit due to the discovery of a cigarette lighter in the area. He said investigators had eventually concluded the fire began due to an electrical fault and then spread to the backyard and towards bushland over the back fence.
NSW Fire and Rescue station officer Mark Beachcroft confirmed one of his fellow station officers was attacked by one of the woman’s dogs during the incident.
He said there was a number of crew inside the house with breathing apparatus when the firefighter, who was outside, had noticed the dog in the doorway and approached to rescue the dog.
He was bitten on the face and suffered a split lip and a scratch down one side of his face. He required treatment at Queanbeyan Hospital following the incident but managed to come back to the station to complete his shift.
Mr Beachcroft said the dog likely attacked due to being scared of the fire and officers in breathing apparatus. He said the officer was not going to take further action as dogs attacking out of fright was not uncommon when they had to enter properties on fire.
Mr Hooper said the dog, a red heeler, was friendly and this was completely out of character.
He said his mother had tried to get the dogs out herself but was unable to before the fire took over. She had been in bed and the flames had reached her bedroom window before she noticed, he said.
The woman’s neighbour has created a gofundme campaign for those in the community who would like to help her get back on her feet after the fire.