DEVASTATED: Daniel Thompson has been struggling to find somewhere to stay after the house he was living in went up in flames.
DEVASTATED: Daniel Thompson has been struggling to find somewhere to stay after the house he was living in went up in flames. Jonno Colfs

DEVASTATED: Tenants lose everything in minutes

DEVASTATED residents have been left with nothing but the clothes on their back after a house fire destroyed everything they owned in a matter of minutes yesterday.

Melynda Wilton had been living at the Wood St residence for seven years and not only lost all her property, but also a cherished friend in the fire.

Her Maltese Fox Terrier sadly perished in the blaze, despite her efforts to try and race in and save the treasured pet.  

"My son literally had to pull me away and take me to the next block because that's how badly I wanted to get into that house," she said.

"It feels like my whole world is gone, my dog was my life.  

"Material things, I understand that they can be replaced but a dog can't.

"I go round calling for my dog and I know he's not here.

"I just feel so empty."

Miss Wilton was not at home when it was engulfed by fire about 9am yesterday.

She had left the house with her housemate, Daniel Thompson, and when the pair were driving home it was the smoke that she saw first.

As they drove closer, she made the horrible realisation it was her own home that was ablaze.

She ran in to try and save her little dog, but it was too late to save anything inside the home.

 "I've lost everything, I've got nothing bar the clothes on my back," she said.

Her son, Paul Tipler, had also been living at the residence with his five-year-old son but both were also not home when the house caught alight.

A neighbour rang Mr Tipler to alert him to the fire, he was immediately fearful that Miss Wilton might still be inside the burning home.

"It's something you don't think is going to happen, that's four lives that could have been gone," he said.

All of their possessions were also lost in the blaze, including his son's toys, a television, beds and computers.

"Every single thing that's in the house is gone," he said.

"Every room was completely gutted, there's not one thing left at all.

"What we've got on us is what we have left, Mum didn't even take her handbag with her when she was in the car."  

Their housemate, Daniel, said he lost clothes, kids photos and heirlooms from his late father in the blaze.

Thankfully his own dog was tied outside the home and managed to survive.

"I have nothing left. I've got me and my dog and that's it," he said.

"It makes it hard when you see things of that nature just going, going, gone and you have no chance to do anything about it.

"Everybody sees people losing their stuff in house fires and you think how sad, you never think you're going to go through that yourself.

"You don't know whether to cry, you're just lost within yourself."

Neighbour Bobbie Heinemann witnessed the entire tragedy this morning and a visiting friend was the first to alert her to wispy smoke billowing from the neighbouring house.

Ms Heinemann said in a matter of seconds the wispy smoke turned to dark black and there was a huge explosion at the house.

"There was a loud bang and flames shot out either side of the house," she said.

"My house filled with smoke so we shut all the windows as soon as possible.

"The heat coming off the house, I don't know how Roses Restaurant didn't go up, I don't know how our house didn't go up.

"The windows were shut, you could feel it through the windows on that side of the house."

With five children aged between 16 months and 11 years old inside her house, her first instinct was to make sure everyone was safe.

A member of the public then knocked on the door and told everyone to evacuate.

"We packed our children into the car and we decided to leave, we went up to First Choice Chiropractic and watched it from there," Ms Heinemann

The Warwick Criminal Investigation Branch yesterday charged a 29-year-old Warwick man with arson in relation to the incident.

He is scheduled to appear at Warwick Magistrates Court on October 25.

Boy injured after falling from motorcycle

Boy injured after falling from motorcycle

Ambulance to accident east of Warwick

Storms forecast for Warwick and Stanthorpe area

Storms forecast for Warwick and Stanthorpe area

Unsettled weather set to continue

LOOK INSIDE: The unique role of peer mental health groups

premium_icon LOOK INSIDE: The unique role of peer mental health groups

A quirky set of cogs make these important groups tick.

Local Partners