FIRST RESPONSE: Mason Schimke, Sam Dale and Loretta Dale have been praised by police for their quick thinking.
FIRST RESPONSE: Mason Schimke, Sam Dale and Loretta Dale have been praised by police for their quick thinking. Stuart Quinn

How neighbours saved a Bucasia man that was set on fire

EXCLUSIVE: Mason Schimke had just pulled over on Shoal Point Rd on Wednesday night when a man ran toward him, covered in burns and peeling skin from neck to waist as his home went up in flames behind them.

Detectives have said it was the quick thinking of Mr Schimke, his friend Sam Dale and her mum Loretta that saved the life of the 42-year-old man.

Police have alleged he was set on fire by Midge Point man Anton Van Eldik, who they claim was motivated by untrue 'Chinese whispers'.

"Old mate came sprinting around the corner, I was like what the f--- is going on," Mr Schimke said.

"He had burns all over him... flames went bursting out the back of his house."

"I went around the back to see what was going on, and as I did fire came out the kitchen window," he said.

"I asked him if anyone was still in the house and he said he wasn't too sure.

"I asked Loretta if anyone lived in the house next to it, and she said an old man did, so I bashed on all the windows to wake him up to get him out."

As the 19-year-old was evacuating the elderly neighbour, Sam and her mother helped the man into their shower.

"He was shaking, full body shaking, constantly," Sam said.

"He was pink from his neck to his pelvis."

The man was also bleeding from a cut to his face.

Police will allege Van Eldik went to the Fisher St unit about 11.40pm on Wednesday looking for the man to seek "retribution" on allegations officers ruled untrue and unfounded.

It's also alleged he gained entry to the home by pretending to be a police officer, before pouring an unknown fuel on the man and setting him on fire.

It is also alleged a 16-year-old boy waited in the car during the incident. The boy has been charged with attempted murder and will be dealt with in the Children's Court.

Detective Inspector Brendan Smith said police dealt with a "complex investigation".

Mrs Dale said the man never screamed, but was frantic for the well-being of his pet cat and the elderly neighbour.

"When the ambulance went to open the (bathroom) door he was laying in the bath, just shivering... and they gave him morphine and put him on an intravenous drip," Mrs Dale said.

"He was very lucky not to be more badly burnt, and lucky that Mason arrived and saw the fire."

The man has been transferred to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital for further care in the burns unit. He is in a stable condition. The elderly neighbour was not injured.

Anton Van Eldik, 47, of Midge Point, appeared in the dock of Mackay Magistrates Court yesterday.

He has been charged with attempted murder, assault occasioning bodily harm, arson, impersonating a police officer and entering a dwelling with intent. No pleas nor an application for bail was made. He is due to appear in Mackay Magistrates Court on October 26.

The Dale family are caring for the man's pet cat, which escaped the fire unharmed.



UPDATE: Investigation into Rocky school blaze continues

Premium Content UPDATE: Investigation into Rocky school blaze continues

Parts of the school remain draped in police tape as inspectors continue the...

VOTE NOW: Search for CQ’s best dance teacher

Premium Content VOTE NOW: Search for CQ’s best dance teacher

More than 20 teachers from 13 different dance studios are in the running for the...

Girl, 14, allegedly threatens taxi driver with knife

Premium Content Girl, 14, allegedly threatens taxi driver with knife

The 61-year-old driver picked up two passengers from Berserker on Monday...