Gabrielle Leis was lunching with friends at the Bohemian Tea Room when son Michael called to say she'd better get home.
She was followed home by police who told her to evacuate immediately as a raging fire that started near Tenterfield Cemetery descended on the home just on the very outskirts of Tenterfield.
By that time the smoke was so thick she couldn't see the fate of her house but friends and acquaintances were commiserating with her and offering her somewhere to stay on the loss of her home, but when the smoke cleared the fire had extended right to the verandah edge, but her home still stood.
In the rush to evacuate they didn't get to shut a door or window and the house is full of ash. The cattle yards of the 100-acre property are gone but the hay shed still stands.
The garden she has poured 15 years of love and attention is a blackened mess, the downpipes are burned out or melted and the welcome mat lies smouldering in the front yard, but she has a roof over her head.
"It was so ferocious," said Gabrielle, who was still shaking from the experience.
"It just came roaring through. It was so quick."
Ironically she had been concerned about the love grass in the paddock and contractors were coming the next day to cut and bale it
The three local schools were evacuated and the power is out in town, but fortunately winds took the blaze south of town where it roared over Dairy Mountain and along Scrub Road, but there are reports that the fire is being brought under control and winds die down with the sun setting.