Calissa Wallace stood anxiously outside her Carwoola home hoping the distant flames would steer clear of her property.
Within minutes, the wind changed direction, the sky turned orange and a blanket of smoke towered above.
She ran out of the door with her parents and pets, not knowing if she would return.
"We were watching all day and it got worse and worse, but then it jumped over the side of the road and hit our house so we had to leave," Ms Wallace said.
"I'm very scared; I'm shaking. It was like a sudden hit. I'm not sure if we'll be able to save any of our home."
Her family had lived in the house for 15 years.
Ms Wallace was one of many distressed and devastated families affected by the out-of-control grass fire east of Queanbeyan, which had caused at least one injury and destroyed 15 homes by Friday evening.
Vanessa and Kevin Lindley, who live on Widgiewa Road, were about to leave for a shopping trip at midday when the sky became black on the Queanbeyan side of Douglas Close Bridge.
"We thought 'This looks really bad, we should get some things in place'," Mr Lindley said.
The couple set up their bush fire survival plan, grabbed their insurance papers, important belongings and pets and prepared to defend their property.
"This place is our life, we've been here for 18 years," Ms Lindley said.
An hour later, she was in hysterics on the side of the road while flames engulfed her nearby home.
With unpredictable wind again flipping the fire's path, firefighters signalled residents and media to move further down Widgiewa Road.
Aeroplanes dropped water bombs onto properties and several explosions, believed to be of gas cylinders, could be heard.
Earlier, Mr Lindley described the danger of firefighters working at the end of Widgiewa Road and the nearby Whiskers Hill Road, which both came to dead ends.
"It's so easy to get trapped. There's only one way in and one way out," he said.
One woman who lives on Whiskers Hill Road - and asked not to be named - could not get through the road block off to check on her husband and baby who were still at home.
"I've spoken to them and know they are safe right now, but the fire is still burning around them and I can't get home," she said through tears.
Dozens of cars were parked along Captains Flat Road at about 4pm on Friday afternoon, with residents unsure whether their properties or livestock was destroyed.
"I have horses and sheep that I have no idea if they're safe," Greg Southwall of Douglas Close said.
"I'm preparing for the worst."
Some were told they'd have to wait at least eight hours before they could assess the damage of their homes.
The fire had burned 2700 hectares by 7pm on Friday, with crews working to establish containment lines overnight. They were expected to face another hot and windy day on Saturday.