UTTER DEVASTATION: Colin Wright stands in front of what used to be his home. Photo Kelly Butterworth / Rockhampton Morning Bulletin
UTTER DEVASTATION: Colin Wright stands in front of what used to be his home. Photo Kelly Butterworth / Rockhampton Morning Bulletin Kelly Butterworth

WATCH: "I was lucky to get out with my life..."

MONDAY 6.45AM: "I HAD to get out and I couldn't get any of my possessions; I was lucky to get out with my life let alone anything else."

These are the words of a man who watched everything he ever worked for go up in flames in a matter of minutes.

It was around 2am Sunday when Colin Wright woke to extreme heat and flames near his bed.

As soon as it dawned on the Little Musgrave St resident what was happening, he looked around the house to see how bad the damage was but the smoke was "low, toxic, and as thick as a brick".

He was forced to escape the North Rockhampton house and leave all his belongings behind.

Colin, who had only been back in his house for a month, said even though everything had been ripped out from under him, no one could take his memories.

"They say you have to walk before you run, at my age I should be flying but now I'm crawling backwards," he said.

"But I'm not expecting sympathy, you know why? Because sympathy comes between s..t and syphilis in the dictionary."

While Colin still has his sense of humour he quite literally has nothing but the clothes on his back.

"These aren't even my clothes," he said.

"When I went to the hospital to get checked out they gave me a clean change of clothes, what I've got on now, and they wouldn't let me take my old smokey stuff (clothes) back."

Regional fire investigator Graham Smith, who was at the scene of the fire yesterday morning said he was surprised Colin escaped with his life.

"We believe it to be accidental," Mr Smith said.

"No one could determine if the smoke alarm went off but there was one fitted in the house, which most likely woke the male resident up along with the heat."

The Gladstone-based firefighter said they had located an old-style iron in the house that looked to be the source of the fire.

"It doesn't have any safety devices on it, he (Mr Wright) can't remember switching it on or off, and we believe that's the probable cause," he said.

SUNDAY:

"I'm surprised, he was lucky to get out alive".

These were the words of Regional fire investigator Graham Smith.

The Gladstone-based investigator was at the scene of the house fire on Little Musgrave St this morning.

"We believe it to be accidental," Mr Smith said.

"At about quarter-to-three this morning the gentleman (resident) woke up, felt heat."

Mr Smith said no one could determine if the smoke alarm went off but there was one fitted in the house, which most likely woke the male resident up along with the heat.

"He woke up to find his room was on fire, made a quick circuit of the house to see what was going on, definitely it was his room and then he made an escape," he said.

Mr Smith said emergency services had located an old-style iron in the house which could possibly be the cause of the fire.

"It doesn't have any safety devices on it, he (the resident) can't remember switching it on or off, and we believe that's the probable cause," he said.

The resident of the house suffered smoke inhalation and had to be taken to hospital before being later released.

7.30AM: Firefighters fought to save neighbouring buildings from a house fire which destroyed a two-storey home in North Rockhampton this morning.

The alarm was raised about 3am and at least four fire crews  responded to the emergency as the Little Musgrave St blaze threatened the Victoria Tavern.

It took about one hour to bring the fire under control with no major visible damage to the hotel next door.

 No one was believed to be at home at the time of the fire.

There was no initial report of any injuries.

More to follow



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