A year 7 schoolboy’s uniform and books, and a musician’s instruments were among the possessions lost after residents in a South Brisbane unit block woke up to cries of “fire, fire, get out” on Thursday.
More than $25,000 was raised overnight through various online fundraising campaigns for several affected residents, many of whom were left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Emergency services raced to Vulture Street just after 6am. It took 11 crews, totalling more than 30 firefighters, several hours to bring the flames under control.
The fire started in the unit block and quickly spread to the business next door as well as generating thick plumes of grey smoke that blanketed the Brisbane CBD in a smoky haze.
The unit block, initially described by emergency services as a boarding house, was gutted and the neighbouring business suffered fire and water damage.
Unit block resident Fabian Withers said he believed his clothes dryer started the fire after waking to smoke coming through the doors and heat coming through the floor.
Brisbane musician Emily Wurramara and her family lost everything in the fire.
“Emily and her family woke to the shouts of ‘fire, fire get out’,” Jo Pratt wrote in the fundraiser for the Wurramara family.
“They were extremely lucky to all get out without injury, but have lost everything.
“All baby K’iigari’s things, all their clothes and Em’s instruments. The family mementos are lost forever, but we can help get them back on their feet.”
Ms Wurramara posted on Facebook she was organising a fundraising concert for all affected tenants.
“I am absolutely in tears and so overwhelmed with your generosity and I just can’t believe how much has been raised for me and my family,” she wrote.
“My daughter is safe as well which I am so grateful for. There are no words and I understand how blessed I am to have this support through this tragic circumstance.
“I am also aware that there were other tenants affected by this fire which is why I am organising a fundraiser concert for everyone else affected in the fire this morning in Brisbane.”
Darren Withers’ grandson Cash, in the middle of completing year 7, lost his school supplies.
“Unfortunately my son and grandson lost everything in the house fire on Vulture Street today,” Mr Withers wrote in the fundraiser.
“His school books and supplies, uniforms, beds, furniture, fridge — they lost everything, and have no insurance.
“He got out of the house with just what they were wearing. I’m so grateful they are alive, he needs to start all over again, he needs the basics.”
Meanwhile, Taz Clay also lost all of his possessions.
“Please donate to help him rebuild and purchase much-needed essentials,” Chantel Keegan wrote in the fundraiser.
“Let’s support this deadly young one who works tirelessly for both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the LGBTIQ+Brotherboy and Sistergirl community.”
Fire Minister Craig Crawford said firefighters donned breathing equipment and went into the units to search for three people who were missing for close to half an hour before they were accounted for.
About 8.30am, there were fresh fears a homeless man who sometimes slept at the units may have been inside when the flames took hold, but police confirmed he was safe 30 minutes later.
One firefighter suffered a knee injury while fighting the flames and was taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital. A woman was also assessed, suffering from shortness of breath.
Thirty-one residents from the retirement home behind the fire were also evacuated as a precaution because of the smoke.
Nearby resident Graham Porter said he was about to drive to catch the ferry to Fraser Island when he saw the thick smoke.
By the time he walked down the street to the scene, the fire had already spread to the commercial business next door.
“There was just huge flames, massive fire. Above the two-storey boarding house itself was three, four or even five metres above.”
Article by Toby Crockford – brisbane times – Source Link