Col Ibbertson raced over to rescue his neighbour and her family when he noticed flames coming from the Emu Park home.
Col Ibbertson raced over to rescue his neighbour and her family when he noticed flames coming from the Emu Park home. Nikita Watts

Neighbour's effort saves family

JUMPING through their front window, Col Ibbertson woke the young family and got them out of the house only moments before it was engulfed in flames on New Year's Day.

Nine minutes was all it took for the Emu Park home to become fully alight after it caught fire about 11pm on Sunday - and if it wasn't for Col, the family might not have woken in time to flee.

Yesterday morning a woman's heart-wrenching cry broke the eerie silence.

It was evident she and her family were left with nothing but the clothes that were hanging on the line, only a week after Christmas.

While he wouldn't accept being called a hero yesterday, Col recalled how he rescued the family, with three children, twins aged 10 and a brother aged 11, from their burning Pattison St home, and then raced to protect his mother's house next door.

The Mackay man said he was watching a movie at his mother's when he heard the crackling of a fire and saw flames on the neighbour's front veranda before calling triple-0.

He jumped the fence and climbed through a window and made as much noise as he could to wake the residents and lead them out the back door to the safety of the front lawn.

Seconds later they saw the power transformer blow and the flames start to billow.

Col spent yesterday morning collecting donations and buying everyday items for the family.

"It's destroyed her. She is flat out standing on her own two feet," he said of the family friend.

"I've known her since the kids were in nappies."

Rockhampton Fire and Rescue station officer John Mathers said the fire took an hour to control and investigations were continuing into the cause.

He could not confirm whether the fire alarms activated.

Col is calling on the community to donate items to the family.

 

How to help

Do you have items you can donate to the family?

Donations of furniture, clothing and everyday items can be left at Emu's Beach Resort Backpackers on Pattison St.

Call 1800 333 349.



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