A FAMILY has lost everything after flames leapt from a stove and destroyed their Springdale Heights home.
James Doyle, 46, was woken by his teenage son Sash on Sunday afternoon.
The 15-year-old had been cooking chicken chips in oil at the Kiama Street house and forgot to turn the stove off before taking a shower.
His father, a chef, tried to smother the flames but there was little that could be done.
“The flames were just ginormous,” Mr Doyle said.
“It was just minutes – a couple minutes’ mistake and bang, the house is gone.
“That’s all it took, not switching the oil off.
“There was no way you could put it out.
“I’m just devastated mate.”
The flames were so intense, Mr Doyle’s hair was singed and his skin was slightly burned by the heat.
The pair managed to save two dogs and ran from the home, with Mr Doyle leaving without shoes and his son wearing only a pair of shorts.
The 46-year-old is staying with a friend across the road and has already had some small clothes donations.
A television and mobile phone were the only things saved.
Mr Doyle’s 17-year-old daughter Hollie was staying in Melbourne at the weekend and also lost everything.
“Where do you go from here?” Mr Doyle said.
“I know the community will support us – we’ve got all our friends here in the neighbourhood.
“But it’s pretty bad.
“I’m not a young bloke.
“I’ve lost all the kids’ photos, things you can’t replace.”
A nearby resident heard shouting at the home before flames tore through the property.
Mr Doyle said the flames had been three metres wide by the time he got into the kitchen.
“They were intense man,” he said.
“It didn’t take long for it to burn.”
The public housing home was completely destroyed and Mr Doyle is hopeful of getting a transfer to another property.
It was the first major house fire on the Border during the winter period.
Detective Inspector Winston Woodward said the incident served as a reminder for people to take care when cooking.
“If you’re going to put oil onto a stove, don’t leave it unattended, don’t walk off, don’t be distracted,” he said.
“Make sure that you keep an eye on the oil.
“Make sure your smoke detectors are working, the batteries are changed regularly – at least yearly – and that vigilance is maintained.”