A tradesman who believes his equipment caused the Carwoola fire that destroyed several homes has opened up about his quest to help devastated families.
The man's gesture is part of a wider community effort that has collectively raised at least $130,000 towards recovery efforts. By Tuesday, the Queanbeyan-Palerang council's bushfire appeal had garnered more than $67,000, including $20,000 from the Queanbeyan Lyons Club alone.
The tradesman, who gave $10,000 to one of several Go Fund Me pages set up in the wake of the disaster, said the past 10 days had been a whirlwind of emotions.
"I wasn't there and at the end of the day it is a dreadful thing that has happened and could have started from my property," he said.
"I just wanted to help because I know a lot of people in the community have lost a lot of belongings that they won't get to replace."
He said he did not expect a showering of support after revealing in a public Facebook post the fire was potentially sparked by a cutting wheel on his property. Dozens of commenters on the post with some 500-likes reassured him that mistakes happen.
"It's been overwhelming. It made me realise what a great community I live in," he said.
"The money is all we could afford to give, but I wish I could have given more."
Queanbeyan-Palerang council administrator Tim Overall helped set up the Carwoola Bushfire Appeal, which through community events had raised almost $70,000. Mr Overall hoped to reach $150,000 within the next week.
"Devastatingly, it will be some time before owners can rebuild, so every dollar we can get helps," he said.
Queanbeyan Lions Club president Jamie Walker said the Carwoola fire was a fitting cause to allocate $20,000 from the Lions' natural disaster relief fund.
"I know people are in desperate need for support, so we want that money to get to them as soon as possible," he said.
Multiple Go Fund Me pages have together raised at least $70,000 for 11 families whose homes were lost and 12 more whose were damaged. The Canberra Grammar School Parents and Friends association had collected $27,000 for two students' families who lost their properties.
Investigations continued into the cause of the fire, with no charges yet to be laid. A NSW police spokesman confirmed a crime scene warrant was executed at a Carwoola property on February 18, during which building equipment was seized.
The Lake George Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC) along with the Queanbeyan Council have set up a local recovery hotline for people to seek help at 6285 6900.