Fire leaves Toowoomba family of 13 homeless
UPDATE: A Netown family of 13 is homeless after a fire extensively damaged their Redwood St home.
Mark Hill, his wife Mellissa and their 11 children escaped a fire which Mr Hill believes started in a children's bedroom about 9.30pm yesterday.
He believes his six-year-old son, who has special needs, had somehow got a hold of a lighter and was sparking it.
"He must have been on the bed," Mr Hill said.
Another daughter saw the danger and tried to put it out before alerting her siblings and parents to the fire.
"Our eldest son came up with me with a bucket of water but by then, with the heat and the fire, there wasn't much you could do."
They all got out, with Mr Hill running back in to grab a pet bird.
Neighbours helped the children, aged between 16 years and three months, while firefighters did their best to contain the blaze.
The fire was stopped from spreading throughout the home but smoke damage was extensive.
Today the family was spread among different relatives' houses.
Mr Hill returned to the home to pick up a car.
He was hopeful of salvaging as much from inside as possible.
However, he thought school uniforms and blankets would have been ruined.
The main message he wanted to get across was the importance of families knowing what to do in the event of a fire.
"We had told them plus they had learnt it at school."
He said his kids had looked after each other very well.
"They argue a lot but when it comes down to it they are there for each other."
A working fire alarm and alert neighbours also helped with the evacuation.
"The man next door was yelling 'your house is on fire, get out'.
"The support from the neighbours was pretty good.
"I really appreciate it."
6AM: A family has escaped uninjured after their home was damaged by fire in Toowoomba overnight.
The fire at the Redwood St, Newtown property was reported to emergency services about 9.30pm.
All occupants were out of the house when the Queensland Fire and Emergency Service crews arrived.
Firefighters managed to contain the blaze to part of the property.
It was extinguished and fire crews had left the scene by 11pm.
Fire investigators will return to the home this morning to probe the cause of the blaze.