Neighbour raises alarm over Bellambi house blaze

A Bellambi woman has described watching flames come within metres of her home after a neighbouring townhouse was destroyed in a fire during the early hours of Thursday.

Wollongong police are investigating whether the fire was deliberately lit, and said the vacant public housing property was popular with squatters.

The blaze began shortly after midnight, and caused the evacuation of neighbouring townhouses in Whitby Mews.

Nickers Matheson said she was woken up by one of her neighbours telling her to get out of her house.

‘‘The flames were coming out of the top of the roof, out of the garage,’’ Ms Matheson said.

‘‘As [firefighters] pulled the door open oxygen made the flames even worse.

‘‘I was worried at one stage when I saw the flames coming out from under the beam  near the garage roof but other than that I was just watching.’’

Wollongong police inspector Brian Wyver said police had established a crime scene following the blaze, and investigations were continuing.

He said more than $100,000 worth of damage had been caused in the blaze.

Ms Matheson said the property had only recently been made ready for a new tenant to move in.

‘‘The way I look at it now someone’s homeless ... no-one should be homeless,’’ she said.

‘‘I’m just sick and tired of seeing kids or adults or stupid idiots doing stuff like this.’’

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