Karen Mayall outside her fire-destroyed Hunter Street home.
Karen Mayall outside her fire-destroyed Hunter Street home. Claudia Baxter

Fire ravages home

CHRISTMAS Day started with a nightmare for a Brassall couple who lost almost everything they own when fire savaged their home.

Karen Mayall, 40, said her two Chihuahua puppies alerted her to the fire that started as she lay in bed about 2.15am on Saturday.

Ms Mayall and partner Vic Leonard, 42, fled their rented house but Mr Leonard heroically returned to the inferno to save the couples’ pets and to try to put the fire out with a garden hose.

But while he saved the dogs, his efforts to control the powerful blaze were in vain and he ended up having to be treated for smoke inhalation.

A devastated Ms Mayall said she was just glad her 15-year-old daughter Heidi was not home.

“Vic and I had only gone to bed about 1am and we were just lying there when the pups started moving around,” she said.

“As soon as I opened the bedroom door the smoke just billowed in.”

A neighbour who noticed the fire had already called the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and three trucks arrived quickly.

Firefighters were able to contain the blaze within the house, leaving the exterior intact, but not before it consumed most of the interior.

Ms Mayall said she lost most of her belongings, including white goods, furniture, clothing, and photographs.

She was able to salvage her laptop computer – which has some photographs on it – and her car was parked outside the house and escaped fire or smoke damage.

“I was lucky to get some clothes from the Salvos; all I had was my nightie and $10 in my wallet,” Ms Mayall said.

“I’ve lost my two electric scooters that I used because I’ve had troubles with my lower back. There were also some Christmas presents in there that we’ve lost.”

She said she would stay with friends until she found another house but her first priority was to be by her partner’s side in Ipswich Hospital where he stayed overnight.

“I love living in the Brassall area and I want to stay in this house but from now on when I drive past it is going to remind me of this awful Christmas Day,” she said.

Investigations are continuing but police are not treating the fire as suspicious.



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