‘WE’VE LOST EVERYTHING’
Family left with nothing after house fire
THE joy of winning a plasma television has turned into despair for a Mossman family after they lost everything in a blaze believed to have been sparked by the prize.
Colleen and Charlie Brischetto watched in horror as their family home of 35 years went up in smoke on Sunday.
“We lived in it all our married life, our kids grew up there and all our memories are there,” Mrs Brischetto said.
A panicked 000 call from a neighbour altered authorities to the fire, but Mrs Brischetto claimed the fire brigade did not show up for 45 minutes.
Family members stepped in to fill the void, using garden hoses to fight the flames.
Port Douglas auxiliary fire chief Louie Leone said when emergency crews arrived about 3pm, the blaze
had been largely contained.
“The fire was pretty much confined to the living room and it only took a few seconds for the arriving crew to put it out,” he said.
“There was extensive heat and smoke damage to the rest of house.”
Toxic asbestos roofing means any items not charred and blackened will also be rendered unusable.
“We’ve lost everything,” Mrs Brischetto said.
“We might be able to save a couple of pieces of furniture from one room. A lot of stuff is irreplaceable, like photos and things.”
The Brischetto’s son, Vince, who lives in Western Australia, bought the house from his parents three years ago.
“He was just thankful we were all right,” she said.
The family has home insurance but their contents were not protected and they will have to replace everything from their own pocket.
“I’m trying to hold my head up high,” Mrs Brischetto said.
As the owners of the local taxi company, the family is well known to Mossman residents.
They have had a string of bad luck, with the taxi company languishing on the market for months and Charlie’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease.
“I virtually run it by myself because my husband has Parkinson’s and he gets very tired at night,” she said.
“What would really make me happy is if someone walked into town tomorrow and bought the taxi business.”
Mrs Brischetto thanked her neighbours who dialled 000 and local Gordon Pringle, who pitched in to try save the house with a garden hose and saved her pet miniature poodle, Bella.
Mr Leone said residents did a great job fighting the fire but cautioned against getting too close.
“Good Samaritans shouldn’t take any unnecessary risks fighting fires where old houses have asbestos present,” he said.
“Inhaling the smoke from a fire is not good, but inhaling smoke from asbestos is even worse.”
The Brischettos are considering pursuing a compensation claim against the television manufacturers but the cause of the fire is still being determined.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Cairns Area Command acting superintendent Darren Welsh could not be contacted for comment in relation to the alleged lengthy response time by the fire brigade.