‘Haunting screams’ as heroes try to rescue six in fire

 

 

A HOUSE fire in Ipswich has left a teenager in a critical condition while five others have been rushed to hospital this morning, with neighbours telling of the haunting screams coming from the building and how they struggled to rescue the occupants.

Emergency services arrived at the residential property on Schelbach Street in Booval where six patients were treated, including two 14-year-olds.

It is believed 6 people aged 14 to 26 were in the flat at the back of the house during the fire, one person was in the house

"This morning emergency services were called to a residential fire in Booval, it was a house quite involved by the time services arrived," QAS Senior Operations Supervisor Gavin Fuller said.

"Two of them were 14-year-old males, one had received burns to his arms, hands, face and potential airway burns, he was transported in a critical condition to Queensland Children's Hospital."

Emergency services at the scene of a residential fire at Schelbach Street in Booval. Photo: Peter Wallis
Emergency services at the scene of a residential fire at Schelbach Street in Booval. Photo: Peter Wallis

Neighbours said the screams they heard will haunt them forever.

Damian Jackwitz and Leah Gillham woke in the early hours of the morning to the sound of their dog barking and young voices shouting.

It wasn't until they went outside that they realised the seriousness of the situation.

"I could see young ones coming in and out and thought they were having a big fight next door," Mr Jackwitz said.

"Then I just saw smoke and I raced down, jumped the fence and there was a young lad screaming inside, we tried kicking the door but we couldn't get in. The smoke was so thick."

Despite just having surgery on his shoulder after a serious motorbike injury, Mr Jackwitz said he smashed the windows and tried to break through the wall to get to the boy trapped inside.

Damian Jackwitz and Leah Gillham were forced to try breaking through a wall to get to a teen trapped inside the property. Picture: Peter Wallis
Damian Jackwitz and Leah Gillham were forced to try breaking through a wall to get to a teen trapped inside the property. Picture: Peter Wallis

"I was going in as a young lad came out and he was just in a towel with all the side of his hair was all singed up the side of his head and then I could hear the kicking from the other side of the door," he said.

"It was more scary because we couldn't get in, we could hear his screams but thankfully he just popped out.

Neighbours said they were unable to get inside to help those in the property. Photo: Peter Wallis
Neighbours said they were unable to get inside to help those in the property. Photo: Peter Wallis

"Hearing the banging coming four feet away from you with him trying to get out was just scary."

The neighbours said the boy emerged out of a plume of smoke before grabbing Ms Gillham and telling her he thought there was someone still inside.

But the young boy, who was badly burnt and had to be hosed down by police, was the last one out.

Neighbour Damian Jackwitz who jumped the fence and tried to help the people in the fire. Photo: Peter Wallis
Neighbour Damian Jackwitz who jumped the fence and tried to help the people in the fire. Photo: Peter Wallis

"We've had a number of house fires over the last few weeks and that's of concern, people need to be careful obviously," QFES Area Commander Ross Mutzelburg said.

"We'll look at all possibilities at this stage it's very early in the investigation, it wasn't a major fire but the main concern is the injuries to the residents."

Emergency services said the second 14-year-old boy was taken to Royal Brisbane Hospital in a serious condition with smoke inhalation and a hand injury.

"QAS had four Bravo units on scene, as well as two critical care paramedics, the high acuity unit came out as well as the scene supervisor," Mr Fuller said.

"I believe it was fairly much contained to the back area of the house, which was the main part where the majority of the people in the residence were sleeping."

Four other patients were taken to Ipswich Hospital.

The cause of the fire is being investigated.


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