Battlers lose everything in Park St house fire

Former tenant of the Park Street property that burned to the ground on Monday, Gregory Hines.
Former tenant of the Park Street property that burned to the ground on Monday, Gregory Hines. Claudia Baxter

RESIDENTS of the Park St house that burnt down, including a couple engaged to be married later this year, were yesterday sifting through the charred remains of their former home.

The lives of the seven residents were turned upside down on Monday when the property was engulfed in flames.

Fire crews responded in minutes to the fire, which was reported about 11.45am.

The house was completely gutted by the blaze, which took just minutes to engulf the house.

By the time firefighters arrived at the scene the fire was so intense they were forced to fight to defend surrounding properties.

One neighbouring house was scorched, while residents of a set of units on the other side was yesterday still without water or power.

Mark Blasdall, 20, lived in one of the three units inside the house with his parents.

"My mum and one of the guys from the next unit were the only people home," he said yesterday.

"Neville managed to get mum out and she had to be taken to hospital."

Mr Blasdall said she had been given a clean bill of health but was still suffering from shock after losing their house.

"They've lost everything, all they've got left is their car," he said.

He said he was out when the fire took place, handing out resumes at local businesses.

He is now staying with his girlfriend's parents while his parents, Mark and Annie Blasdall, are looking at staying with family in Laidley.

A resident of one of the other units, Greg "Norm" Hines, said he had lost money and the only means he had of communicating with his son who lived in the Philippines - his iPad.

"It can't get any worse," he said.

"I was at work (at the Churchill abattoir) and got a call on the two-way saying 'Normy's got to go home, his house has burnt down'. I didn't even believe it until I saw."

But despite losing everything, he said he was hoping it was his neighbours who got help first.

Owner of the house Mark Thompson said the residents of the units were battlers who would be hard hit by the loss. "The people who were living here were doing it tough," he said.

"They were staying here for not much rent and they were all just lovely people. I just really hope people like Greg get help."

Ipswich City Council yesterday moved to fence off the property after reports of people walking through the rubble.

"I just want people to stay out," Mr Thompson said.

"It's full of asbestos and extremely dangerous now it's dry."

The community has already begun rallying behind the residents of the house.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale said he immediately went to the Mayor's Community Fund upon hearing of the tragedy. He said $2000 would be given to each unit to help get them back on their feet.

Similarly the Ipswich Community Care Fund has offered to donate Woolworth's gift cards to the now homeless residents.

Other community members took to social media to organise support with the Park St Ipswich Fire Victims, Support and Donations Group set up to help those affected.

The group saw more than 80 people join to pledge their support within a day of the fire.

  • Anyone wishing to donate cash to assist the victims of the Park St fire can do so via EFT at any bank or through internet banking by using: "Park Street fire" as the reference to the Ipswich Mayor's Community Fund Inc; Bendigo Bank; BSB 633-000 and account number 128672318.

Topics:  editors picks house fires

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