Terry and Jutta Flynn are lucky to have escaped the Carrai East bushfire that engulfed their property and destroyed their home on November 8.
Jutta was at their home on Kyuna Track on the Friday afternoon when police arrived and told her she needed to leave. They were given less than five minutes warning before flames mercilessly burnt the home they built together in 1987 to the ground.
Terry was at the Willawarrin Hotel at the Friday night raffles when Jutta called him and said the police were at their house and were telling them to leave.
"I had already packed some things in the car about an hour earlier because I was feeling uncomfortable, it just kept getting worse, the smoke was getting thicker and thicker" Jutta said.
"I looked outside and I knew we had to go, I rang Terry and told him to get home and get home now. And after that it was a couple of minutes before the trees were on fire."
Terry drove straight home after talking to his wife, they frantically packed some belongings before fleeing their home of 32 years.
"I came home and we grabbed what we could, Jutta was in her car and she had important papers and I grabbed the dog, we sadly lost one of our dogs that ran back into the house.
"It was all so fast, the fire was just suddenly here."
Terry and Jutta were ahead of the blaze by only minutes and while driving out of their driveway, flames were licking the ground on either side of their cars.
"We just bolted. We had to drive through the flames to get out of here. The fire was up near Toorooka Rd and it just came straight down here, it was so fast" Terry said.
As they drove away from their house, it remained untouched by the blaze.
"Definitely within minutes of us going is when the house was on fire.
"There have been reports from people over the river that it was like a fire ball came from the main fire and hit our house, it was basically an explosion.
"If we had stayed a minute longer we wouldn't have made it," Terry said.
Cheating death, Terry and Jutta drove through flames to get to Willawarrin.
"The flames were jumping on both sides of Kyuna Track as we drove out. We got to the top of the road and I thought good we're on the main road but it was even worse, the fire was heading down to Willawarrin.
"We went to the village and then had to evacuate to Kempsey becuase the fire was heading our way, but at the time nobody seemed to know what was going on."
Safe in Kempsey, Terry and Jutta spent Friday night not knowing whether their house was still standing. They made the journey back to their property on the Saturday morning to find their home completely destroyed.
"We got back out here at 12pm on the Saturday, it was more to remove all doubt because we had people telling us it was gone and then we had just as many saying no the house is fine," Terry said.
"We were numb when we saw it, the only thing you can feel is numb.
"There was quite an attachment to the house. It's not just a house that we walked into, we built it.
"For the first two days when someone would ask us how we were going, it was very tearful. I thought I was pretty right but no, when someone asked me how I was going I just burst into tears," Terry said.
Terry and Jutta stayed at the Willawarrin Hotel with many other locals who lost their homes. They have now found refuge with a couple in Kempsey.
"We've just been knocked over with the generosity of the community, which has helped.
"We're doing alright now and have started to comfort other people, It's helping us at the same time."
While Terry and Jutta have lost all of their possessions and the home they built together, they said they will make it through this and rebuild their lives.
"We're not going to go anywhere, we're going to stay and we're going to stay here on this property. We'll get through somehow."
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