Fire tragedy for flooded family

Fire gutted this Barry St house that was being renovated after being damaged in last year’s flood.
Fire gutted this Barry St house that was being renovated after being damaged in last year’s flood. Rob Williams

A FAMILY home just renovated after last year's floods has been the site of tragedy again. It has been destroyed by fire.

The home of Stephen and Tammy Tarrant (pictured below right with son William) was gutted by a blaze that police are treating as suspicious.

Firefighters were called to the house in Barry St, East Ipswich, just after 2am, but were unable to stop the fire from spreading right through the interior.

The Tarrants were part-way through renovating the high-set timber residence. However, nobody was home when the fire started.

Mrs Tarrant, who has been living outside Ipswich, returned to the home after hearing the bad news early yesterday.

Although too upset to speak about what had happened, a friend said Mrs Tarrant was understandably shattered.

"To have suffered damage from the floods and then to come home this morning to find the house burned down, it is devastating for them," the friend said.

The house was furnished and electricity was connected.

Mr Tarrant had been living in the house permanently, but was visiting his son William at a different residence on Monday night.

After being denied an insurance payout from RACQ following last year's floods, the Tarrants spearheaded a community protest where they wore shirts emblazoned with the slogan, "RACQ: Un-QLDer".

The protest in February attracted about 50 people, as well as television news crews and politicians.

RACQ eventually agreed to pay for damage to the lower level of the house, but not the upper level as it was deemed to have been caused by riverine flooding and not flash flooding.

Police yesterday cordoned off the entire property, as investigations into the cause of the fire began.

Forensic officers were still there until late yesterday. Criminal Investigation Branch and Queensland Fire and Rescue Service scoured the site in the morning.

Anyone with information that may assist police investigations should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Topics:  blaze emergency services fire floods police racq

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