'Flea bomb destroyed my house'

Brenden Reynolds surveys the wreckage of his father’s burnt-out home.
Brenden Reynolds surveys the wreckage of his father’s burnt-out home. Sarah Harvey

HOUSE fire victim Gerry Reynolds was left with no option but to try to look on the bright side after watching 20 years of memories go up in smoke.

His beautiful big brick home on a hill overlooking Wivenhoe Dam was completely gutted in a fire that started in his bedroom about 1.45pm on Tuesday.

Firefighters rushed to the large Coominya property from Esk and Karana Downs but could do nothing to save the low-set house, which was already well alight by the time they arrived.

Mr Reynolds said the fire spread so quickly from his bedroom that he only had time to leave with the clothes he was wearing.

"I'd set up a flea bomb in my walk-in wardrobe," he said.

"It was a home made thing that I've been doing for years - it is made using sulphur in aluminium foil in a Pyrex dish, sitting on a breadboard."

Mr Reynolds was not sure what caused the bomb to smoulder away inside his wardrobe, but the heat was enough to send a strange smell through the house.

When he opened his bedroom door to see where the smell was coming from, the flow of oxygen caused the fire to flare up.

"They always talk about how you don't know how quickly a house fire can take off - well I now know that you've really got no idea until you see it," Mr Reynolds said.

"I mean, once the air got onto this fire it just took off."

Short of water because of the rural location, fire crews pumped water from a small dam in the backyard.

A smouldering pile of rubble was all that remained, apart from Mr Reynolds' two vehicles - a ute and a Mercedes sedan - which were parked in a garage separate to the house.

Mr Reynolds' wallet also survived the inferno, but only because it was tucked in next to the bladder of a water bed.

The house is insured and Mr Reynolds hopes to be able to rebuild on the same slab.

In the meantime, he will live with his son Brenden, who has a house on the same property.

"You could get upset about all this, but I don't see the point," he said. "I just can't believe the total destruction."

Topics:  house fire wivenhoe dam

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