House destroyed after two fires
A FIRE destroying a Stanthorpe family's home has served as a timely reminder about the danger of open fires, leading in to the colder months.
The Hickson family, who were not home at the time, lost everything in not one, but two fires within 24 hours of each other.
The first fire started at about lunch time on Monday.
Cynthia Hickson said it was thought to have ignited after sparks from the fireplace landed on the carpet.
“I had the fire very low and thought it would be okay, but it wasn't,” Mrs Hickson said.
She said she was out with her young son when she heard sirens heading towards her house.
Her husband John, a paramedic, was on duty at the time.
“John got the call and was on his way and someone said, ‘It looks like it's up near your place',” Mrs Hickson said.
“Then another one called and said, ‘It is your place'.”
While the damage was extensive, the family hoped to salvage some of their belongings, but those hopes were dashed early Tuesday morning when flames tore through what remained.
Southern Downs Regional councillor Denise Ingram, who lives nearby, saw the first fire and said she was shocked to see the house in flames again in the early hours of the next morning.
“We heard a siren about 3am,” Cr Ingram said.
“Unbelievably all the neighbours are on the street again and the same house is fully alight.
“Neil Strutt, who was staying with his parents in the street, used a domestic hose to protect the home of the neighbours on the park side of the burning property until the brigade arrived,” she said.
Mr Hickson said it was a humbling experience.
“We are just overwhelmed with the generosity of a number of people,” Mr Hickson said.
“We would really like to say thank you to the community and everyone for their support.
“We have just been inundated with calls.”
Mrs Hickson said it was usually her husband who was the one lending a hand.
“John's always going to other people's places to attend fires and things and helping them, but now it's us.”
When asked if there was anything they needed, the Hicksons said they just wanted people to prepare themselves in case of a similar situation.
“We are fully insured and we have family here so we are right,” Mrs Hickson said.
“People just need to make sure their insurance is up to date.”
One neighbour described the scene of the burnt out house as tragic but Mrs Hickson said she was just glad that her family was safe.
“In the end, that's what matters isn't it?”
Initial reports that fire crews took half an hour to reach the property have been corrected by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, which said officers were there in around 12 minutes.