POLICE say they will not pursue criminal charges against two squatters who admitted causing a fire in an abandoned Ipswich house.
The old timber home on Brisbane St, West Ipswich quickly erupted into a fireball Wednesday morning, with a thick column of black smoke pouring into the air, bringing dozens of workers out onto the street for a look.
Firefighters arrived on the scene within a few minutes, but there was no amount of water they could pour on the inferno to reverse the destruction.
Bystander Garry Pryde said he was alerted to the fire by three loud popping noises at 10.30am.
"We heard this sort of pop, pop, pop - kind of like a balloon," Mr Pryde said.
"Then it was all up in flames. There was fire pouring out the windows and through the roof."
Brisbane St had to be closed in both directions from the Top of Town to Clay St, with firefighters tapping into a hydrant across the road from the house.
The intensity of the flames had been reduced within 15 minutes, but the house was still smouldering away half an hour later and sections of the front patio were beginning to collapse.
Paramedics were on the scene as a precaution but were not required, with police confirming they'd heard reports from witnesses that squatters were seen fleeing the house shortly before it went up.
Detectives from the CIB were able to track down a 23-year-old woman and a 37-year-old man who later admitted to being inside the house when the fire started.
Detective Senior Sergeant Gary Dixon said the pair told police they accidentally tipped a candle over.
"Their explanation fits in with what our scientific investigators have told us," Snr Sgt Dixon said.
The house is one of several to occupy land that is set to become home to a new Bunnings Warehouse.
The vacant houses will be moved or demolished in the near future.
Snr Sergeant Dixon said while police were not aware of the presence of squatters in the area, witnesses to the fire had reported an "increase in activity" at the houses in recent weeks.