Screams heard as three die in fire

The Australian - - THE NATION - CHAR­LIE PEEL

Ground-shak­ing ex­plo­sions, the smell of petrol and screams from a Bris­bane home that was en­gulfed by flames yes­ter­day, killing three peo­ple in­side, will be in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice who are treat­ing the fire as sus­pi­cious.

Po­lice are look­ing at events in the 24 hours be­fore the fire to find out what hap­pened. By the time emer­gency ser­vices ar­rived in the north Bris­bane sub­urb of Ever­ton Hills shortly af­ter 5.40am, the flames were dou­ble the height of the two-storey brick home.

Neigh­bours told po­lice they could smell petrol and had heard yelling and an ex­plo­sion about the time the fire started.

Crews ex­tin­guished the fire, en­tered the house and found the bodies of two women and a man.

Bris­bane Po­lice In­spec­tor Daniel Bragg said the house was “well alight” by the time po­lice and fire crews ar­rived.

“We have re­ceived ad­vice that a neigh­bour heard an ex­plo­sion,” In­spec­tor Bragg said.

“We also spoke to one neigh­bour who gave au­thor­i­ties ad­vice there was yelling be­fore­hand.”

Po­lice yes­ter­day did not re­lease de­tails of the vic­tims, but said a woman and her adult son were known to live in the home.

Foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors are try­ing to de­ter­mine whether the ex­plo­sion heard by neigh­bours was the cause or a re­sult of the flames.

Late yes­ter­day po­lice urged the pub­lic to come for­ward with any footage near Pavo­nia Street around the time of the fire and to re­port “any­thing sus­pi­cious” in the area be­tween Mon­day night and Tues­day morn­ing.

In­spec­tor Bragg said the dam­age to the house was “sub­stan­tial” and neigh­bour­ing houses were evac­u­ated as a pre­cau­tion as the blaze threat­ened to spread.

“What we are try­ing to do is put to­gether the pieces of this jig­saw,” he said.

“We need to es­tab­lish ex­actly what’s oc­curred here and what started this fire.

“This is a big tragedy; for three peo­ple to die in a house fire is such a ter­ri­ble thing.

“It might be sus­pi­cious, it might be a ter­ri­ble ac­ci­dent.”

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