House destroyed by fire, Wallaces Rd Withcott. Wednesday, 9th Sep, 2020.
House destroyed by fire, Wallaces Rd Withcott. Wednesday, 9th Sep, 2020. Nev Madsen

Fierce blaze reduces country home to ash in minutes

FIRE investigators may never know what caused a blaze that burned so hot that it destroyed a Withcott home in a matter of minutes.

The high-set Wallaces Rd home was perched on a hillside which allowed strong winds to the fan the flames.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services investigator Glen Forrestal said the tragic conditions meant there was little fireys could do to save the home.

"Even if you had a fire station around the corner it would not have made any difference," he said.

"Firefighters coming down The Range could see the glow from Toowoomba."

QFES fire investigator Greg Forrestal inspects the house destroyed by fire, Wallaces Rd Withcott. Wednesday, 9th Sep, 2020.
QFES fire investigator Greg Forrestal inspects the house destroyed by fire, Wallaces Rd Withcott. Wednesday, 9th Sep, 2020. Nev Madsen

The fire started about 6.45pm yesterday.

A witness described seeing small flames and hearing a few pops before the inferno took hold.

"It is a significant loss," Mr Forrestal said.

"It was a fully furnished, timber home that had 60 years of drying out and it was sitting on an elevated position with good airflow underneath.

"The conditions were perfect for a bonfire."

About 11 rural and urban fire crews were called to the scene and went on the offensive from the moment they arrived, to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby structures and scrub.

The property was nestled at the bottom the Toowoomba Range and did not have access to a reticulated water supply.

This hindered the firefighting effort as officers were forced to travel to refill their tankers.

"Without a decent water supply it was always going to be a tough battle to save this property," Mr Forrestal said.

"I feel very sad for the family that live here; they have lost everything.

"But there is a positive in that there are no injuries."


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