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House blaze a reminder fires need constant supervision

Police are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out at a Colosseum property on Wednesday night.
Police are investigating the cause of a fire which broke out at a Colosseum property on Wednesday night. Brenda Strong

AN unattended camp fire sparked a major blaze that ripped through a 100-year-old Colosseum home on Wednesday.

Local fire services got the call to the Burgess Rd property at about 6pm on Wednesday, but by the time they arrived on the scene a short while later the house had been gutted and a 56-year-old man was suffering minor burns.

Fire investigator Graham Smith, who was on the scene with investigators from the Crime Investigation Branch on Thursday morning, said the fire was simply an accident.

"A fire in a pit made in a small, shallow water tank-type structure adjacent to the property was dying down, so the man put some paper in to keep it (the fire) going and then left to do something else," Mr Smith said.

"Unfortunately when he came back one of the lighter materials had jumped onto a couch on the verandah which was then set alight.

"The prevailing wind pushed the fire inside and the whole thing went up. It was just a freak accident."

Among the possessions to go up in flames were tools which were being used to build a new home on the same property.

It was while trying to save his tools from the flames that the 56-year-old sustained minor burns.

"He's building a home on the same property and he's got the slab down for that," Mr Smith said.

"He had a lot of tools for building the new place stored in the house, and while he was able to get some out a lot went up with the house."

It is believed the home was built with local timber over 100 years ago.

The man has requested privacy while he deals with the incident, but locals have reportedly already pitched in to help the man with a campervan for temporary housing and allowing him to shower.

"It's good that he's getting a bit of help from others around him," Mr Smith said.

"It's just tragic that a fire that he's probably lit a thousand times before has gotten out of control this time," he said.

However, Mr Smith said the incident was a reminder that any fire needed constant supervision.

UPDATE THURSDAY 12.30PM: Investigators have ruled a fire which broke out at a Colosseum home overnight as accidental.

Fire ripped through the Burgess Road property shortly after 6pm on Wednesday and was the result of fire jumping from a temporary fire pit onto the verandah of the home.

"A fire pit made in a small, shallow water tank-type structure adjacent to the property was dying down, so the man put some paper in to keep it going and then left to do something else," fire investigator Graham Smith said.

"Unfortunately when he came back one of the lighter materials had jumped onto a couch on the verandah, which was then set alight.

"The prevailing wind pushed the fire inside and the whole thing went up. It was just a freak accident."

A 56-year old man was taken to Gladstone Hospital on Wednesday night with minor burns, which were suffered as a result of trying to save tools stored in the home which were to be used for building another home on the same property.

"He's building a home on the same property and he's got the slab down for that," Mr Smith said.

"He had a lot of tools for building the new place stored in the house, and while he was able to get some out a lot went up with the house."

It's believed neighbours have lent him a camper trailer to stay in while he gets back on his feet.

EARLIER: A man has been taken to hospital after a fire that completely destroyed a house at Colosseum, south of Gladstone, on Wednesday night.

The fire started at a house on Burgess Road at 6.20pm. When emergency crews arrived at the scene the house was fully ablaze.

The resident, a 56-year-old man, was taken to Gladstone Hospital with minor burns, but police said this was mainly as a precaution.

The house was completely destroyed by the fire.

The scene was guarded overnight and investigators from the Criminal Investigation Branch were at the scene on Thursday morning.

Detectives said there was nothing suspicious about the fire at this stage, but investigations would continue throughout the day.

Topics:  fire, gladstone hospital, gladstone police, house fire, qfrs



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