Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Alison Bald­ing

FIRE in­ves­ti­ga­tors are yet to de­ter­mine the cause of a blaze that de­stroyed a two­s­torey townhouse at He­ber­sham on Fri­day morn­ing.

Two-thirds of the twolevel townhouse, in Vallingby Ave, col­lapsed as fire­fight­ers bat­tled to save neigh­bour­ing prop­er­ties.

A small fire broke out in the unit next door but crews were able to ex­tin­guish it quickly.

Emer­gency ser­vices were called to the res­i­dence about 9.20am af­ter re­ceiv­ing multi- ples Triple 0 calls. Four crews, in­clud­ing one from Mt Druitt, two from Dun­heved and one from St Marys ar­rived.

Fire and Res­cue NSW West Duty Com­man­der Martin Hof­s­tadler said the struc­ture and con­tents were de­stroyed.

“At this stage the fire ap­pears to have started in the lounge­room area as that’s where the most sig­nif­i­cant part of the fire dam­age is ev­i­dent,” Mr Hof­s­tadler said.

“The fire has ac­tu­ally burnt through the floor in that area.”

A Fire and Res­cue NSW Haz­mat (haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als) crew from St Marys was also called in to as­sess con­tam­i­na­tion from as­bestos.

Next door neigh­bour Daniel Pullinger, who kicked the door of the townhouse down to make sure no one was home, said the smoke and flames were in­tense.

He said he spent more than five min­utes search­ing for a hose long enough to help fight the fire.

“If it was night, some­one would have died,” he said.

His mother and chil­dren got out of the com­plex safely with the help of neigh­bours. Kelly Bax­ter, who lives in the same com­plex, said she heard screams and opened the door to see thick black smoke out­side.

“I just shut the door and ran to my neigh­bours to help get the kids out,” Ms Bax­ter said

The 35-year-old said her heart went out to the large fam­ily who lived in the Hous­ing NSW townhouse.

“This is bloody hor­ri­ble,” she said.

“I lost my house in Tregear go­ing on three years now. It’s just dev­as­tat­ing.”

Main pic­ture cour­tesy of Mt Druitt Fire Sta­tion

Re­mains of the townhouse fire in He­ber­sham and (inset) Paul Dillinger at the scene.

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