​​Family 'lucky to be alive' after caravan home erupts in flames

After moving into a caravan to travel Australia last year, the family faced the devastating blow.

Maddy Brown with her partner Connor and children Kahlani, four and Frankie, two at a lookout (left) and the family together outside their caravan (right).
Maddy Brown with her partner Connor and children Kahlani, 4, and Frankie, 2. Source: Supplied

An Aussie family are shattered after their caravan home erupted in flames, leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their backs.

Victorian Maddy Brown, 22, was visiting her mum with her two children Kahlani, 4, and Frankie, 2, when she received a call from her partner Connor, 28, on Friday last week telling her everything they owned had “burnt to the ground”.

It’s believed a diesel heater inside the caravan was the cause of the blaze, and Maddy says it’s a miracle no one was inside at the time of the blaze. The mum, who admits she considered cancelling the insurance on their caravan multiple times just to have enough money to feed her family, is now warning others after the horror incident.

“We never thought this would happen to us,” she told Yahoo News Australia. “There were times where we were asking ourselves 'do we pay our insurance or feed our kids'? My message is to keep those payments going as hard as it is. We’re still in an awful position where we have nothing, but we hold onto hope our insurance will come through.”

The tragic aftermath of a fire that ripped through a caravan at Diggers Rest in Victoria.
Maddy received a heartbreaking phone call from her partner that their family had lost "everything". Source: Supplied

Maddy told Yahoo the family decided to hit the road in April last year to spend more time together after struggling to make ends meet during the cost-of-living crisis. They quickly fell in love with the lifestyle and plan to continue living in their caravan for the foreseeable future.

“It’s been amazing, it has been the best time of our lives,” she said of the move. “We had a house full of stuff before, and now we had a caravan that had everything we needed and it’s the happiest we’ve ever been."

At the time of the fire, the family had parked their caravan on Connor’s boss’s land in the outer Melbourne suburb of Diggers Rest. He was working as a truck driver when he got the call about the blaze, and initially feared Maddy and the kids were inside the caravan.

After calling her several times, he finally got through to Maddy and broke the tragic news. “I didn’t believe him at first,” Maddy told Yahoo. “He said ‘It’s gone, everything is gone, and I just started crying, I was just in such disbelief.”

The couple went to see the ruins of their home with Maddy describing the scene as “awful”. “It was our entire lives just sitting in a pile of ashes on the ground," she said.

The tragic remnants of the fire in the family's caravan home. Source: Supplied
The tragic remnants of the fire in the family's caravan home. Source: Supplied

Maddy posted about her ordeal on social media warning others about the risks of caravan fires. “We’ve seen other people have similar experiences but we never thought it would be us," she said.

“The response has been amazing, we’ve had offers of kids' clothes and people lending us caravans to stay in while we get back on our feet.”

For now, the family are staying with Maddy’s mum, but have been told it could be up to eight weeks before they get the funds from their insurance company to replace the caravan.

“The lesson I’ve learned is to never be that naive to think that something like this won’t happen to you.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family get back on their feet.

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