IN A blackened room all but destroyed by fire, Maddy Brooks found her most precious memories safely wrapped in a blanket, kept safe in a wooden chest.
It was hard for the 23-year-old single mother to comprehend how the bundle of baby photos of her two girls were salvaged from the smouldering shell of a lounge room.
Miss Brooks lost most of her possessions after fire ripped through her Golden Beach rental property on Monday morning.
She returned yesterday to pick through the wreckage of the unit she rented through Coast2Bay affordable housing.
Her kitchen was destroyed, her microwave and fridge melted under the intense heat.
Miss Brooks is living in a holiday unit for the week with her daughters Hayley, 8, and Avril, 2, while she gets back on her feet and is re-housed.
Miss Brooks was out for a walk with her sister when she received a call to say her unit was on fire.
"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I was totally shocked, I thought it was a joke.
"I've lost my fridge, dining table, everything in the kitchen, brand new lounge suite, TV, stereo, everything.
"I'm so grateful to the neighbour for calling 000 and for the off-duty firefighters in my street risking their lives for a total stranger.''
Miss Brooks thanked the hundreds of people who have already offered help in the form of furniture, clothes and vouchers.
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