Goombungee house fire victim Dugal Bell shares a laugh with his granddaughter Brigette Bell.
Goombungee house fire victim Dugal Bell shares a laugh with his granddaughter Brigette Bell. Contributed

WWII veteran dies in Remembrance Day house fire

UPDATE: Second World War veteran Dugal Bell has fallen victim to a house fire on the day which marked his wartime service.

The Goombungee resident could not escape the fire which destroyed his King St home on Monday, Remembrance Day.

It was despite the brave efforts of Goombungee police officer-in-charge Sergeant Greg Kidd, who tried to save Mr Bell but could not get past the intense flames.

Mr Bell's daughter Victoria Bell said her 87-year-old father had served as a member of The Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment of Scotland.

Having grown up in Scotland, Mr Bell moved with his wife Elma and daughter Victoria to Australia in 1967.

Victoria's brother Jamie was born after they arrived in Australia.

Mr Bell and his wife owned large cattle properties in far north and western Queensland before retiring to Mulgowie in the Lockyer Valley about 1987.

His wife died in 1995 and Mr Bell moved to Goombungee about three years ago to be closer to his Gowrie Mountain-based daughter.

Ms Bell said her father was a character who "loved a wee dram".

"He was very much a man who kept to himself," Ms Bell said.

"He would have done you a good turn before he did you a bad turn."

She said her father was preparing to move out of his Goombungee home to move into a granny flat at her property.

The grandfather of three was due to become a great grandfather in three months.

Ms Bell was in shock as she she tried to comprehend what had happened.

"It is just like it has not even happened."

Sgt Kidd said he was called to the fire about 10.25pm and arrived to find the house well-involved in flame.

"I attempted to gain entry through the back door but the smoke and the heat was far too intense to gain entry," Sgt Kidd said.

"The fire brigade arrived shortly after and put the fire out.

"It took about an hour to put the fire out."

Sgt Kidd said he feared Mr Bell may still have been inside.

"The fire quickly spread from the centre of the home to both ends..." Sgt Kidd said.

His fears were confirmed a few hours later when investigators discovered Mr Bell's body.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service investigator was yesterday working to determine the cause.

EARLIER: Neighbours have described an intense house fire which claimed the life of 87-year-old Goombungee man Dugal Bell.

Goombungee police officer-in-charge Sergeant Greg Kidd said he was called to the King St home about 10.25pm yesterday.

He arrived to find the house well-involved in fire.

"I attempted to gain entry through the back door but the smoke and the heat was far too intense to gain entry," Sgt Kidd said.

"The fire brigade arrived shortly after and put the fire out.

"It took about an hour to put the fire out."

Meanwhile, neighbours Bill and Kim Carr had called 000 after Mr Carr noticed the flames over his back fence.

"I'm looking over the back and I thought 'gee, he's got a big bonfire going in the backyard'," Mr Carr said.

Investigators have arrived at the scene of last night's fatal house fire in Goombungee.
Investigators have arrived at the scene of last night's fatal house fire in Goombungee.

"The police officer was first on the scene by the looks.

"I asked if there was anything I could do.

"He said 'no'."

Sgt Kidd said he feared the elderly resident may still have been inside.

"The fire quickly spread from the centre of the home to both ends and eventually it was totally involved, the whole house," Sgt Kidd said.

His fears were confirmed in the early hours of this morning when investigators discovered Mr Bell's body.

A Queensland Fire and Rescue Service fire investigator and police are today working to determine the cause.

Firefighters battle a house blaze near Toowoomba that claimed the life of an elderly man.
Firefighters battle a house blaze near Toowoomba that claimed the life of an elderly man. 9News

 

EARLIER: An elderly man has died in a house fire near Toowoomba.

Police arrived at the King St, Goombungee, home about 10.20pm to find it well alight.

They were unable to gain entry to the home due to the extent of the fire.

The 87-year-old man was found dead after the fire was extinguished.

Investigators will return to the home this morning.


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