Ten flee northside house blaze

EIGHT children and two adults ran for their lives as a fire engulfed their North Rockhampton residence yesterday afternoon.

Standing on the curb, Rhonda Henry was wonder- ing what happened to her home.

"I'm just glad they all got out,'' she said later while watching firefighters start cleaning up their gear.

Mrs Henry had been collecting children from school.

She had left her five children, two cousins and a nephew in the care of her mother and adult cousin in the four-bedroom, Ingham Street home.

"Everything just happened so quickly,'' said her cousin who did not want to be named. "The boys came home and then there was fire and we rushed everyone out of the house.''

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service responded to a 000 call at 3.22pm and had the fire out in half-an-hour.

"When we arrived the residence was involved in fire from what appears to have been children playing with matches or a cigarette lighter,'' Station Officer, Trevor Sorenson said.

Police will investigate today.

The fire, which appeared to have started in one of the four bedrooms, caused "serious internal damage and structural damage'', Officer Sorenson said.

One bedroom was destroyed.

A spokesperson for the Department of Housing, which owns the home, said the department may be able to salvage the structure of the house, but would not know for certain until inspectors were allowed inside.

At the time The Morning Bulletin spoke to Mrs Henry, she did not know the full extent of the damage, believing that she had perhaps lost a bed, curtains and a window was smashed.

"The kids won't stay here the night,'' she said. "They'll go to their grandmother's.

"I'll stay and try to clean up.''

Officer Sorenson said three QRFS fire pumper units attended along with 10 personnel.

The Henry family would be grateful for any donation which can be organised via Robert Schwarten on 4927 5299.

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