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Ross Noble relives the fire that consumed his Australian home – and almost killed his family

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Four years after a bush fire consumed his home in Australia, North East comedian Ross Noble finally feels able to recount exactly what happened in February 2009.

“We lost 15 friends and neighbours in our street that day,” the Northumberland-born comedian recalls in a candid interview for the Daily Mail. “We got off lightly…[and] I felt very lucky”.

36-year-old Noble, who grew up in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, almost lost his wife and daughter to the fire, too. Elfie, his baby daughter, had been sent away while his wife, Fran, was delayed at her parents’ house, narrowly escaping the flames when she came back.

Noble himself was at a gig that day, but lost all his possessions, including his beloved collection of motorbikes. The family was left with just an overnight bag and a change of clothing.

“At least we had somewhere,” Ross admits. “Some people had lost everything and were living in tents”.

However, having come so close to losing his loved ones, Noble’s been left with recurring nightmares about what could have been.

“I’d wake up and think they were dead, and I’d have to check to make sure they weren’t. Then I’d be able to go back to sleep.”

After the fire Fran said she wanted to move to the English countryside, and Noble has been back in the UK since.

“I loved the Australian bush but it’s a harsh place to live, especially with a young family,” he concedes. “When children are playing outside, you have constantly to be on the lookout for poisonous snakes and spiders.”

With their second baby due at any moment, Noble errs on the side of caution. Yet the fire that took away all his possessions also gave him a new perspective on life: “You realise it could end in an instant. It makes you enjoy the moment a lot more.”

Read our interview with Ross Noble here.