Tasmanian family of eight loses everything in 'catastrophic' Christmas Day fire in Lower Barrington – ABC News

Tasmanian family of eight loses everything in 'catastrophic' Christmas Day fire in Lower Barrington
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A Tasmanian family of eight have lost their house and belongings in a fire that started while they were away for Christmas lunch.
Maeghan Wealands, a relative of the family, set up a fundraising page and said her parents — who live in a granny flat on the property — first spotted the smoke and called triple-0.
Dallas Wealands, whose daughter's house it was, said he was having a rest when his wife woke him and told him about the smoke.
He was "very concerned" and went down with a garden hose.
"I went down with that hose, started to spray water behind the door, until I had a couple of explosions above my head," he said.
"[I thought] I better get out of there. It was a smart thing to do."
His daughter Rebecca Wealands, whose house it was, said she thought her parents were "joking", when they called her to say her house was on fire.
"We were in the middle of opening presents and had to just jump straight in the car and come back here," she said.
"I was completely in shock, absolutely shell-shocked."
When firefighters arrived at the house on Sheffield Road in Lower Barrington they found the house fully alight.
While they were able to extinguish the blaze, the house and everything in it was destroyed.
The family of two adults and six children were unharmed as they had already left for Christmas Day lunch.
The family's two dogs and two cats were also found safe and well.
Ms Wealands said the house had been newly renovated, and her children were finding it difficult to come to terms with the loss.
"These are their childhood memories, now all gone," she said.
Fire investigators have ruled the fire an accident and believe it was caused by an electrical fault.
The damage bill is estimated at about $300,000.
The local volunteer fire station in the nearby town of Sheffield posted on Facebook on Sunday afternoon looking for accommodation for the family.
"Unfortunately, this Christmas morning one of our local families has lost their home to fire. They have nowhere to go," the post said.
"Any help would be greatly appreciated with this awful event, as they have lost their home and everything in it on Christmas morning."
It is understood three of the children volunteer with the brigade, which is now accepting donations for the family.
Mr Wealands said it was heartening to see the community rallying behind the family.
"They just know everybody and everybody knows them because of what they do in the community. They're wonderful," he said.
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