House blaze leaves four in despair for a place to live

FIRE VICTIMS: Tamara Frankel and Katrina Watson fight back the tears as they describe their desperate escape from the fire that which gutted their Denison Street rental home.
FIRE VICTIMS: Tamara Frankel and Katrina Watson fight back the tears as they describe their desperate escape from the fire that which gutted their Denison Street rental home. Sharyn O'Neill ROK160113sdenison

"I can still see the flames, I only have to close my eyes."

ALL Tamara Frankel wants to do is go home.

But after the Denison St house she had been renting for almost two years went up in flames on Sunday, Tamara, as well as her two children and her flatmate Katrina, are all homeless.

Homeless and left empty handed as the fire took everything they owned as well.

"All I want to do is go home, but I've got no home," Tamara said.

Blinking back the tears, Tamara described the house fire as the scariest thing she had ever experienced.

"I can still see the flames, I only have to close my eyes."

After putting her son, two-year-old Jet, down for a sleep in her room on Sunday afternoon, Tamara decided to have a rest with him, while her seven-year-old daughter Sky happily played games on the computer.

Hearing the smoke alarm go off, Tamara thought nothing of it as she got up to turn it off as it had previously alarmed for no reason.

Shocked to see flames on a foam mattress in her daughter's bedroom, Tamara burnt her hands and hair as she tried to put out the flames.

"I couldn't stop it, there was nothing I could do."

Her flatmate, Katrina, was downstairs with her father cleaning up when they heard Tamara's screams for help.

Attempts to put the flames out with buckets of water and hoses, helped by some neighbours, while waiting for the fire brigade to arrive, were to no avail, and only the shell of the house remains.

"I tried my hardest."

Firefighters were called to the Denison St fire around 4.30pm while they were attending a call to the Zodiac Nightclub after an alarm had gone off.

The Denison St house fire was one of two house fires in Rockhampton on January 13, the other in Wood St.

Later that night embers from the Denison St fire flared up causing damage to a neighbouring house.

"Everything I own is gone.

"We have nothing."

Tamara is, however, grateful that both her children escaped the blaze, although Sky suffered burns on one ankle and was visibly upset after the fire.

"We saved one child each," Katrina said.

Driving past the house on Tuesday to view the damage, Tamara said she couldn't help but think of the things she had lost that were irreplaceable.


"I lost everything in the floods and I built it all back up myself, just to have it go in the fire."

Thanks to a pile of dirty washing under the house, Katrina at least still has some of her own clothes.

Tamara feels that an electrical fault was to blame for the fire, as there had been a number of electrical issues with the home, including light bulbs regularly blowing and some sparking from power points, which had been reported to the real estate agent.

"It was the worst day of my life."

While she had been able to sleep at friends' places since the fire, Tamara is keen to find somewhere she can stay where she can have her kids with her.

"I'd stay in a motel but I have no money.

"I just want everyone all back together."

Unable to work or drive after recently being diagnosed with epilepsy, Tamara admits she had no house insurance.

"How much more can a person go through?

"It doesn't feel real."

Are you able to help?

If you are able to help with accommodation or donations of household goods please call Katrina on 0487 230 392.

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