House fires shock Wandal residents

By JOSEPH TERNOWETSKY and ALEX TERNOWETSKY ? TWO house fires just hours apart shocked residents of Wandal yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, firefighters battled a shortage of water and manpower along with strong winds to control a fire at 22 Wilkinson Street.

Last night, a neighbour's dog, named Kojak, saved Jim and Heather Olsson, who were asleep in their house at 34 Jones Street when it caught fire.

The dog woke its owner, Fiona Brumpton, who in turn woke the Olssons in time for them to flee the fire.

Another neighbour, Sally Hillman, joined the fight, hosing down the walls and organising for cars to be moved and saved.

Firefighters were on the scene within minutes and quickly had the fire under control.

Mr and Mrs Olsson were not injured, but ambulance officers treated Mrs Olsson for shock.

"No doubt about it, I owe my life to that dog,'' Mr Olsson said.

The rear of the house was extensively damaged.

Rockhampton station officer Stephen Reid said firefighters were able to control the Wilkinson Street fire quite quickly despite the demanding circumstances.

"The house was fully ablaze when firefighters arrived,'' he said.

"Firefighters from Gracemere came and helped out.''

And although the fire was controlled quickly, about threequarters of the home was severely burned.

"It is a high-set Queenslander house, so it got a lot of air into it during the fire,'' he said.

The occupant of the house, Allen Barber, was taken to Rockhampton Hospital, where he was treated for minor burns and smoke inhalation, Mr Reid said.



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