Coast town rising from the ashes of ravaging fire
NINE months after fire ripped through three Noosa North Shore homes and damaged two others, owners are now rising from the ashes.
None were left as devastated as 70-year-old Mike Hancock and his wife Lyn, who lost precious momentos of their son who died at 22 and Mike's mum as well as their beautiful cedar-lined home.
Worse was to come with the couple finding they had been under-insured to rebuild what they had lost.
It was a tough blow to the former building industry subcontractor and volunteer North Shore Rural Fire Brigade First Officer, whose fire management skills had protected the community for decades.
But despite the theft of his tinnie what he quickly found was the community he loves looked after its own.
Not only did the new Noosa Total Tools outlet owner Si Smith step with the donation of a $4000 full kit of power tools to replace those he lose in the blaze, but the builder who fitted out the store, Dylan Hamilton of Hamilton Construction stepped in to lend a hand.
Grant Upton of Noosa Village Motors, whose father Peter also served on the rural fire brigade with Mike, lent the design skills he had applied to the family's former North Shore beach front home.
Mike's son-in-law Scott Fazen of Fazen Scaffolding and Training chipped in, securing scaffolding for free from Build Safe and supplying the labour to erect it for the build.
Now with a roof on and flooring laid a future Mike and Lyn couldn't have envisaged when the returned to the ashen remains of their home from a trip to Australia Zoo with their grand children, now is more than just possible.
"You don't ever think you'll get wiped out," Mike said.
"There are a lot of nice people who have been very helpful through the whole incident."
Builder Dylan is one of those.
A single dad of a three-year-old he moved to Noosa from Western Australia a decade ago.
He's from the country and a community that's experienced the ravages of fire.
"I heard about Mike's situation," Dylan said.
"I grew up on a farm and know what it's like. Everyone pitched in and helped each other."
Lyn and Mike won't get back the United States traditional-style home they first built with its chapel ceilings and cedar throughout, nor the bespoke furniture that filled it.
But Mike says they will have a low-maintenance replacement which would stand not only on new-generation Mega Anchor foundations, but also a community that cares for each other.
The furniture too, sourced second-hand from Noosa Salvos, has been a delightful surprise with Mike saying they had been shocked to find quality pieces at generous prices.
To their east, another neighbour's home is out of the ground and ready to go up as a exact replica of the one lost to the place, while to the west the ground has been cleared of rubble ahead of another rebuild.
One house block further down good friend David Wright's home was being repaired from the damage it also suffered.
Now past the devastation of their loss Mike and Lyn were now looking forward with a confidence fuelled by the support that has rallied around them.
Billionaire Sir Richard Branson was one of the first offering his Makepeace Island Resort as his neighbours first sanctuary from their ordeal.
Others, unknown to any of the property owners, arrived on that first Sunday afternoon bearing sandwiches and soup.
"Everybody's been so nice to us," Mike said.