Lachlan Molnar and Hailey McAlpine lost everything when the East Gippsland bushfires tore through their town but they found a reason to celebrate.
Lachlan Molnar and Hailey McAlpine lost everything when the East Gippsland bushfires tore through their town but they found a reason to celebrate.

High school sweethearts’ moment of joy through the ashes

A Sarsfield couple whose home was razed in East Gippsland's bushfires now have something to celebrate - their New Year's engagement.

Lachlan Molnar, 20, and Hailey McAlpine, 18, yesterday discovered that their home and family cars were destroyed as the blaze ripped through the town, southwest of Bruthen.

Despite the devastation, Mr Molnar popped the question "smack bang on midnight" as they ushered in the new year with friends on Paynesville jetty.

Lachlan Molnar proposes to girlfriend Hailey McAlpine at midnight on NYE after their Sarsfield home was destroyed in the East Gippsland bushfires
Lachlan Molnar proposes to girlfriend Hailey McAlpine at midnight on NYE after their Sarsfield home was destroyed in the East Gippsland bushfires

Ms McAlpine told the Herald Sun that the "amazing" surprise had given the couple something to look forward to.

"I had earlier yesterday said to him that there was nothing to look forward to - we have to find a new house, get furniture," she said.

"This has made it a lot of easier on the brain ... it is now a better start to the year."

The couple, who met at Bairnsdale Secondary College, have dated for 4.5 years.

Lachlan Molnar and Hailey McAlpine’s house was destroyed when the bushfire ripped through Sarsfield. Picture: Hailey McAlphine
Lachlan Molnar and Hailey McAlpine’s house was destroyed when the bushfire ripped through Sarsfield. Picture: Hailey McAlphine

Ms McAlpine described her fiance as her "high school crush", introduced by her brother.

"I'm just glad that he is here with me and all our family is safe," she said.

"I know there are a lot of people who aren't in that circumstance.

"We've got it good. To the extent that we've lost a lot, but we haven't lost each other, we're all right."

Lachlan Molnar proposes to girlfriend Hailey McAlpine at midnight on NYE after their Sarsfield home was destroyed in the East Gippsland bushfires
Lachlan Molnar proposes to girlfriend Hailey McAlpine at midnight on NYE after their Sarsfield home was destroyed in the East Gippsland bushfires

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