Stranger runs into burning home, saves pets
A STRANGER has been praised as a hero after running into a blazing house fire yesterday afternoon to check if anyone was inside and walking out with two guinea pigs under his arm.
The West Gladstone house in Boles St was engulfed in flames and billowing with smoke when brave-hearted Nathan McLeod ran onto the property in the heat of the moment.
Minutes before the house was an ordinary two-storey timber-and-brick home but in the blink of an eye the timber roof was falling in and furniture melting into the floor.
The Gladstone man who works as a caretaker at a neighbouring house said he called 000 as soon as he saw a window on the house explode.
"I could smell smoke, it was very strong. When I came outside to see what is was, the house across the road was covered in black smoke," he said.
"In less than two minutes the whole house was on fire.
"Yeah, that was pretty scary seeing that happen before my eyes."
Mr McLeod said once the fire crews were on the way he ran over to the property.
"I ran over and started yelling out to see if anyone was inside, I only found two guinea pigs out the back so I brought them back with me to a safer spot," he said.
"It looked like the owners weren't home, which was a huge sigh of relief because it would have been devastating.
"I was worried that the fire would catch onto the trees because they were really close to the house."
It took three fire crews to extinguish the blaze, which was put out by 12.45pm.
A family friend of the woman who rented the house said she was in disbelief when she came home.
"It's really upsetting to see this. She (the tenant, who declined to be named) has a little one so it's all just come as a huge shock for her," the friend said.
"She's relieved that Nathan saved the guinea pigs and her dog escaped unharmed.
"But it's hard to look at the house."
Mowing contractors Warren Hinton and Nick Suttie were just about to take their lunch break when they saw dark clouds of smoke.
"We were just driving back to work after smoko and we've spotted some smoke and thought we better drive past and see what it is," Mr Hinton said.
"We saw two guys, Nathan and another bloke running around the property screaming and shouting.
"We offered to help but they told us to stay back from the fire.
"It was a very intense fire."
Gladstone police Sergeant Wayne Butcher said the tenants had only recently moved in and police were investigating if the fire was suspicious.