Family escapes fire but loses all
STANDING on the roadside in her pyjamas, Sandra Thompson screamed for her son, fearing he was trapped inside the fire-engulfed home.
Both Mrs Thompson and her son William had awoken to a loud noise at 12.35am, only to realise smoke was billowing from all openings inside their North Rockhampton rental home.
Mrs Thompson, 57, managed to grab her dog, phone and handbag before fleeing out the front door.
William, 30, raced out the back door, wearing only boxer shorts.
Neither had shoes and the flames engulfed the Macaree Street home so quick nothing else could be saved - not even their cars.
All that was left Wednesday was a charred exterior, despite three Fire and Rescue crews extinguishing the flames within 30 minutes.
Wednesday, Mrs Thompson was speechless as she tried to cope with the devastating drama only hours before.
“I'm not quite sure how I'm feeling,” she said.
“When I watched the house this morning I didn't really feel anything - there was just too much to take in.”
Mrs Thompson, who did not have contents insurance, told how she and William both awoke at the same time.
“I heard a noise downstairs. It must have been loud enough to wake me…and my son too, because we came out of our bedrooms at the same time,” she said.
“I went to the front door and opened it and smoke billowed up around the stairs. He (William) yelled at me to get out.
“I ran to the front and pushed the dog with me. As I did that the power went out and it was all black. I ran into the door and felt around for the door knob. When I opened the door there was a man on the steps yelling to get out.”
William tried to use the garden hose on the home, but Mrs Thompson said it was useless, as it was too far gone.
Not only did Mrs Thompson and William lose all their possessions, she also lost treasured items such as her mother's jewellery and photos.
“I'm just thankful to be alive,” she said.
Yesterday the home's owners David and Wendy Millan said all that mattered was that everyone inside was safe.
The highset home had belonged to David's late parents.
Mrs Millan said the house had also recently been renovated with a new bathroom and kitchen.
“To stand there watching it was hard, but it's not about us; it's about the tenants,” she said.
“We were insured - I feel so sorry for her, she was a lovely tenant and we were very blessed to have her in our house.”
Mrs Thompson, who had rented the home since June, was staying with friends yesterday.
Amart All Sports yesterday was quick to offer Mrs Thompson and William free shoes and socks and Alma Street Veterinary Hospital gave them the medicine needed for their Staffordshire terrier.
Mrs Thompson had also just saved up and bought a fridge and washing machine for the first time in her life.
Joyce Mayne and Samsung offered to replace her fridge yesterday for free, as she had originally bought it from there.
Mrs Thompson also said she wished to thank the man who had helped them at her front steps. She knew only that was he wore a striped shirt.
Friends have started an appeal and donations of any kind can be made by calling 0417 190 463.
Recent house fires
- September 1: Clarence “Clarrie” Donovan, 80, died tragically when a fire engulfed his Waterloo Street house. The fire was not suspicious.
- August 27: A fire destroyed a house at 24 Pearson Street, Rockhampton, and damaged two neighbouring homes.
- July 28: Noel Cain's historic family home at 5 George Street was destroyed. Arson is being investigated.