Dread ran through Matt Colley's body the moment he answered his phone on Tuesday afternoon to hear his 14-year-old daughter Charlotte on the other line.
"She was just hysterical. I couldn't understand a word she was saying, but I knew something wasn't right," Matt said.
"I just ran out of work and flew up there to her to see what was going on."
At that moment, a fierce fire had already begun to consume the family home where the pair had made memories for the past 11 years.
It was an unfortunate accident that could have happened to anyone.
"She was putting wood in the fire and it just exploded coals everywhere," Matt explained. He was simply grateful that Charlotte escaped with her life.
"The house is replaceable, she's not," he said.
"A big thanks to the Inverell fire (department) and police, and the two nurses that took Charlotte to the hospital," he added through tears. The teen, who suffered minor burns and singed hair, has bravely returned to school this week.
The blaze engulfed half the building, leaving the rest severely smoke damaged. Clothes, photos, personal belongings, furniture and two beloved family pets were lost to the flames.
Matt's three-year-old Billy, who stayed in the home most nights of the week, was sad to lose his pet snake.
"It was his mate," Matt said. Father to five, Matt sees his other three children each fortnight. Staying with his parents as he finds a new place to live, he feels lost and overwhelmed with all that needs to be done.
"We've lost everything," he said.
"I haven't even let it sink in to me yet."
The moment locals heard of the tragedy, they began offering their support. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover the cost of clothing lost to the flames.
"Thank you everybody for their support. I've got no words," Matt said.
"I'd like to thank my work, Symes Coaches. Greg and Mal, they've been bloody awesome."