House goes up in flames at Central Lane.
House goes up in flames at Central Lane. Sarah Steger

Crime scene declared after fire guts home in Gladstone CBD

LATEST: AN INVESTIGATION into a suspicious fire has been launched after a fire ripped through a home on Thursday morning.

At 6.35am, Gladstone emergency services responded to reports of a house fire in the CBD.

Upon their arrival, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services officers found the unoccupied dwelling engulfed in flames and extensively damaged.

"When we got there we saw flames coming out of the top window and the front of the house was on fire," a Gladstone firefighter said.

A tower of thick, black smoke, spiralling from the ablaze home toward the sky, was spotted by locals from a distance.

"We saw it on our way to work ... there was so much smoke" a witness said.

The gutted, two-storey wooden residence appeared to be quite old.

"There hasn't been anybody living in it for ages," Ray McEwan, the owner of the affected house, said.

Mr McEwan said he had been trying to sell the property for several months.

"It's got no insurance. It's just been sitting there while we try to sell it."

The owner said he had lived at different residence for more than 22 years and that the incident came as a complete surprise.

"There's just nothing I can say," he said.

While firies continued to try and gain control of the blaze, Ergon Energy isolated the power in the affected area. And by By 7.05am, the fire-consumed home was extinguished successfully.

"There were initial reports of an elderly person inside the place, but we found no occupants in our search," the firefighter said.

"We're now treating it as suspicious."

Mr McEwan said homes located on or near Central Lane had been affected by unfortunate incidences before.

"There's been three fires in the laneway that I know of," he said.

"We've had things smashed against the house before too. The spot has also been a problem with the drunks passing through from one nearby pub to the other," he said.

Fireies, police and paramedics are at the scene of a two-storey home engulfed in flames. Thick, black smoke can be seen from kilometres away.
Fireies, police and paramedics are at the scene of a two-storey home engulfed in flames. Thick, black smoke can be seen from kilometres away. Sarah Steger

As of yesterday afternoon, investigations into the suspected arson were ongoing and the blackened remnants of the abandoned dwelling were declared a crime scene.

QFES fire investigators are assisting Queensland Police as they work to determine the cause of the fire.

"We think the fire started in the back corner, underneath the house," the firefighter said.

"Two witnesses saw it start underneath and there's lots of old wooden palettes stacked on top of each other under that back corner."

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.

UPDATE: A HOUSE previously alight with flames has been extinguished.

Gladstone Urban firefighters were called to a home emitting a tower of thick, black smoke earlier this morning.

Once they arrived at the Central Lane residence, they worked to control the flames, gain entrance into the house (believed to be owned by an 87-year-old man) and extinguish the blaze.

At 7.05 am they were successful.

A QFES spokesman said Ergon Energy was able to isolate the power in the area simultaneously.

"There's three crews on scene still, monitoring the fire site," he said.

Prior to that the crews remained on scene dousing hot spots.

"No reports have come through of anyone being found inside the house," the spokesman said.

A fire investigator has been notified.

7.20am: GLADSTONE firefighters are attempting to gain entry into a two-storey home engulfed in flames.

At 6.35am, Queensland Fire and Emergency, Police and Ambulance Services responded to reports of a house fire in the Gladstone CBD.

All emergency crews arrived on scene shortly after 6.30. Police are now blocking off the lane to all traffic and pedestrians.

A witness said the home was completely engulfed in orange flames when he arrived.

"We saw the smoke... so much smoke... on our way to work," he said.

The blazing home is visibly quite an old structure.

 

Two fire crews, two police units and ambos are on scene.
Two fire crews, two police units and ambos are on scene. Sarah Steger

It is also believed the residence, initially reported as on Goondoon St, is home to an elderly male, however, this has yet to be confirmed.

A QFES spokesman said fire crews are currently inside the structure conducting searches now.

"We have conducted primary and secondary searches so far," he said.

Ergon Energy is also on the scene as there is a significant risk of power lines falling.

Updates to follow.


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