Winmalee home rises from the ashes

After five months, one of the first bushfire blocks in Winmalee is on its way to having a real home back on it.

On the corner of Singles Ridge Road and Buena Vista Road, the new Hotondo built home of Dick and Therese Hurst is well underway, with slab laid, frame and tough new BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) zone 40 windows. The roof was expected to go on on Tuesday as the Gazette went to press and lock-up stage is only three weeks away. Mrs Hurst hopes to be settled in by August. 

The Hursts lost everything on Thursday, October 17, but by the next Monday they were knocking on the door of the Hotondo Homes’ office in Faulconbridge ready to re-build. Five days after the fire NRMA had paid them out — enough money so they are not out of pocket. (They had reassessed their insurance cover 10 months earlier to meet new bushfire ratings).

“We were happy to stay,” Mrs Hurst said.

Their 200 square metre, four-bedroom Jamieson home is “a little bigger” than their previous home and was rebuilt with extras for $319,000.

Ten more Hotondo Homes are expected to go up before the end of the year, according to Colin Duncan, Hotondo’s Blue Mountains director.

“They are local boys and nothing is too much trouble,” Mrs Hurst said of her rebuilding experience.

“We were dreading the process, but so far, as far as the rebuild has gone, everybody has been really helpful.”

Blue Mountains City Council has had 43 development applications in, with 28 approved to date and two homes under construction.

“It is a promising sign that collectively, we have progressed past the immediate and devastating impact of the Blue Mountains bushfires, and we can look towards the task of rebuilding homes and lives,” mayor Mark Greenhill said.

The Hursts know many other families whose home ended up as rubble that day that are still struggling, but they hope more people come back and rebuild again.

“All I can say is go ahead, sometimes you just have to take the bit between your teeth and go for it,” Mrs Hurst said.

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