Corowa house fire destroys lifetime of memories

NINA Costarella looked on in dismay as more than half a decade of her memories and possessions were destroyed by fire on Friday night.

Ms Costarella, 69, switched on an electric blanket in the master bedroom of her Corowa home about 8pm.

She returned to the lounge room to watch TV before hearing a beeping sound.

She thought it was the TV making the noise, but checked the bedroom and was pushed back by intense heat as the room was engulfed by flames.

Ms Costarella, who moved into the Albury Road house when she was 18 in November 1962, tried to save as many possessions as possible but was left with little more than the clothes on her back and a few photographs.

“The memories are the only things I miss,” she said while fighting back tears after her home was destroyed by the blaze.

“It was very stressful and scary and I was in shock, and I still am.

“A lot of people stopped and tried to help but there was nothing they could do.”

The property had been on the market for eight months and was insured.

“There are a lot of memories which have all just gone,” Ms Costarella said.

“But I’ve got a wonderful family who are all behind me and are helping me in any way.

“I thank God for them.

“It could have been the electric blanket which started it, I’m not sure.

“I’ll think twice before I put another electric blanket on my bed.”

Firefighters spent about two hours battling the fire, which caused the roof of the home to collapse.

Fire investigators attended the brick home on Saturday to examine the scene.

Ms Costarella’s son-in-law, Gary Holt, said she would stay with his family in Tallangatta in coming days and said donations were not necessary.

“There are people out there who are in more dire straights than we are,” he said.

“There are people out there who are more needy.

“We can look after her and she’s got insurance.”

Ms Costarella said while she was “sad and in shock”, she was still smiling.

“That’s all you can do,” she said.