Sunday, 5 February 2012

STACE FAMILY

Greetings all,
This is the newspaper report of the Stace family - the family whose son got burnt the other week.


Heartbroken dad Stephen Stace speaks out after son Isaac, 5, dies in caravan fire



A HEARTBROKEN father has spoken of the moment he tried to save his five-year-old son from a burning caravan.



With burns on his hands and face Stephen Stace said he ripped the burning door from the caravan to save his son Isaac but he could not pry it entirely free as it was too hot.

“I was hoping he might have gotten out, but that wasn’t the case,” Mr Stace said, who was too distraught to speak further about what happened.

He described his son as an intelligent boy who never went near anything dangerous.

“The day before we had the best day,” Mr Stace said, as he wept into his hands.  “He had been watching me weld and he found an off-cut. He gave it to me, which is something I’ll always treasure.”

Mr Stace had only recently moved to a property at Melinga, near Taree, with his wife and three children and they were sleeping in a caravan until they could build a new house.

The 41-year-old put his son Isaac to bed about 8pm on Saturday. A candle was lit because the caravan had no electricity.

Stephen joined his wife, the couple's baby and their oldest son in an old dairy they had converted into a kitchen and lounge about 30m away.

About one hour later the father saw flames coming from the van.

Taree detectives and crime scene specialists examined the charred remains of the caravan yesterday. A report will be prepared for the coroner.

But Inspector Neil Stephens said police were treating the little boy's death as simply a "terrible accident".

A charred pram and a few other items were all that remained yesterday inside the gutted caravan.

A Rural Fire Service spokeswoman said the volunteer crews, mostly local farmers, were offered counselling.

Webb Bros Taree livestock sale yards held a minute's silence before their first auction this morning in tribute to Isaac and his parents.

Auctioneer Dave Callaughan said they were "a beautiful family" who had recently bought and sold sheep and calves as their fledgling farm was getting off the ground.

"This just feels a kick in the guts," he said.  "They'd only moved from out west (NSW) and they were doing it a bit tough.  I've spoken to Stephen and he's just devastated as you can imagine, he doesn't want to talk to anyone. They are just the nicest couple you could imagine."

Isaac was due to start school today.

Neighbour Heidi Hamming said the blond-haired boy would always wave and say hello when the family collected their mail from the end of Innes Lane.

"He was always smiling, just a happy little kid," she said. "It's just such a shame.  The first we knew of it fire trucks and ambulances and police cars were rushing up the lane.  We took coffee up to the police about 4am and the fire started back up but the officer put it out with an extinguisher. It happened so quickly, you just don't expect something like that so close to home."

Mrs Hamming's daughter Montana, 8, picked flowers yesterday and put them on the Staces' letterbox.

For those wanting to donate to the family, a trust fund has been set up by Webb Bros rural agents Taree.

--Samantha Townsend with Richard Clune and Clementine Cune

The Daily Telegraph  January 31, 2012



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