Two Hopetoun residents have recounted the horror of losing their homes in a devastating blaze sparked by lightning on Friday. Firefighting resources were stretched to their limit on Friday afternoon after lightning strikes sparked more than 15 fires in two hours from Hopetoun to Newdegate. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services confirmed on Monday two homes had been lost in Hopetoun, along with four other structures used as residences, including a caravan and live-in sheds. The Hopetoun fire started about 2pm near the intersection of Hamersley Drive and Seaview Way, west of the town, and was upgraded to an emergency bushfire warning by 4.40pm. After burning through 162ha, it was downgraded to an all-clear on Monday. Hopetoun resident of 14 years Anthony Gallagher was on his way home from Albany when he heard a wind change had caused the fire to race towards his property. He arrived at his home on Whale Bay Drive — less than 2km from where the fire started — about 8pm on Friday and it was already destroyed. “I was basically preparing myself for what I was about to see, and obviously wasn’t preparing myself enough,” he told the Advertiser. “I just collapsed when I pulled into the driveway and saw the absolute, utter devastation. “I was thinking I wanted to salvage stuff before it got wet from the rain and there was absolutely not one single thing to salvage. “It just went through every square inch of my five-acre block. “My van, everything, every single thing — the cubby house, caravans, boats, tools. “It’s just absolutely nailed it all. “My next door neighbours’ houses are gone, the one across the road is gone. There’s five in total. It is an absolute moonscape, it’s just devastated.” After a sleepless night, Mr Gallagher — who runs a mobile refrigerator and air-conditioning business — is now staying with a friend as he faces a tough road to recovery. Mr Gallagher thanked his community for its support. “The night was just a mixture of anxiety and anger, mixed in with trying a bit of meditation to calm my breaths and steady my mind,” he said. “For the first three hours I could not roll a cigarette — my hands were shaking so much, and I was just sweating. “When I pulled into the driveway and opened the driver’s door my legs just gave way and I fell on to the floor and just screamed. “I’ve just decided to follow my Buddhist teachings now as all I have are my thongs, a dressing gown and no possessions. “It’s still surreal and still like I am living a dream, and I am going to wake up and everything is going to be normal.” Hopetoun artist Louise Lodge watched her Seaview Way “dream home” go up in flames on Friday. Ms Lodge arrived at her bush block near the centre of the blaze — 4km out of town — in time to save some of her valuables before fleeing to her neighbour’s property. “There was a clap of thunder and lightning and it just ignited from that,” she said. “I couldn’t think straight — it was such a rush. “We saw the wind change and we saw the fire heading in our direction. “That was panic stations then. “We could see the flames burning over my way. “We drove down there and I just saw my bush alight and I knew the house would go. “I knew it just couldn’t survive. “I was watching the bush burn. “I could see my house burning. “I stopped feeling anything. I don’t know why, as soon as I knew it was going to burn I just accepted it. I couldn’t react. “I had six lovely years there.” With the help of locals, Ms Lodge was able to save her water tank and shed. She lost her art supplies and sketches but most of her artwork was safe at a studio in town. She has vowed to rebuild her home, which she uses for open studios, on a block she has owned since 2004. “It is the sort of environment we live in here. We all love our bush. But we know the danger and I have to build in a different way next time,” she said. “The bush will grow again. “There is nothing there now but it is amazing bush. It just recuperates, new things come up and it changes all the time.” Fundraisers have been set up for Mr Gallagher and Ms Lodge.