I was just screaming 'my baby is in the car'
IT'S one of Ipswich's most awful tragedies in recent memory, but now one brave woman is re-telling her harrowing story in the name of a good cause.
Lockyer Valley resident Anne-Marie Priggins could have never predicted the gut-wrenching circumstances that would unfold on June 10, 2004.
Pregnant at the time, Mrs Priggins was travelling along Springfield Parkway when her car suddenly caught fire, trapping her and 13 month-old daughter Kylie inside.
In the panic that followed, rescuers that pulled Mrs Priggins from the burning car did not realise baby Kylie was still inside and she perished in the fire.
"I had been to Ipswich earlier that day for an antenatal appointment and had gone home to wake my husband up for work," Mrs Priggins said.
"I then went to go pick up my two older children and from there I have no knowledge of leaving the house or anything," she said.
"What I do remember while I was standing on the side of the road was hearing a big bang and then as I spun around, the car erupted and I was just screaming 'my baby is in the car'.
"Then there was someone there and he asked if there was anyone he could ring and I told him I needed my husband.
"My husband then came flying up to the roundabout and that's when we realised what had really happened."
Now 13 years since the tragic accident, Mrs Priggins, her husband and four surviving children live at Mt Tarampa, but regularly return to Springfield to put flowers on the cross which marks the place where she lost her daughter. Mrs Priggins went on to have a healthy baby girl after the accident and later another son and said support from the community and her local church had been instrumental to getting her and her family through that difficult time.
"Pastor Phil (Cutcliffe) came around on a regular basis to say prayers with us and to check in on us, so he's been a great friend ever since," Mrs Priggins said.
"He organised with people from the church and Westside Community Care to make up enough meals that we could eat for at least three weeks which was a big help during that time.
"I'm not a religious woman, but I would now do anything to give back to the church or Westside Community Care and have often put my hand up to cook a meal if there have been other families whose children have passed way.
"It hurts, but it's good to be able to let them know they are not alone and even though it automatically brings back that memory which stabs you in the heart, it can also be quite therapeutic."
Pastor Cutcliffe said the accident had a very deep impact on him and was the catalyst for growing the Westside Community Care to what it is today.
"Through the church and local community we managed to raise over $25,000 which went towards buying the family a new car," he said.
Mrs Priggins will speak at next month's Springfield Christian Family Annual Seeds Fundraising Dinner and said she wanted to tell others there is life after tragedy and you can live on.
"I want people to realise that life goes on, there's always someone there to help," she said.
"I also want to say don't close your eyes to the church, because even if you're not that way inclined, they'll never judge you for that and my kids know Pastor Phil means the world to this family and if ever he asks, I'm there."