A FAMILY of three arrived home yesterday to the gut-wrenching sight of firefighters battling the inferno that was once their rented Apple Tree Creek home.
Vince Towerton, his partner Suzanne Green and her son Jamie Roy were left with only the clothes on their backs after after the blaze left their timber and cladding residence a smouldering, smoking skeleton.
Adding to their devastation was the knowledge their pets — two cats and two dogs — had died in the fire.
“We weren’t going to be gone long and we didn’t want them running loose, so we locked them in the house,” he said.
Smoke billowing into the noon sky alerted them to a problem on their return journey.
“We were driving back from my uncle’s place, thought the smoke was close to home and hurried back to see all this,” he said.
Childers Police acting officer-in-charge Senior Constable Frank Lawler said a witness saw flames in the house, but found the front door locked.
“He went to a neighbour’s and was told no one was home,” he said.
Snr Const Lawler said he and Snr Const Donna Gay arrived at the scene and were told the pets were trapped in the house.
“We tried our hardest to kick the front and back doors down to get them out, but the heat drove us back,” Snr Const Gay said.
“It was horrible knowing they were in there and we couldn’t get them out, we couldn’t have gotten anyone out.”
Strong, gusting south-westerly winds fanned the inferno, which left fire fighters with no chance of saving the dwelling.
Bundaberg CIB and a forensic science officer attended the scene to assist Childers police with their inquiries into the cause of the blaze, which at this stage is unknown.
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