FAM­ILY LOSES EV­ERY­THING IN FIRE

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - char­lie. peel@ news. com. au

A HEAT­LEY fam­ily of eight is home­less af­ter their house was gut­ted by fire on Satur­day night.

Grand­mother Lenice Walsh was re­turn­ing from the shops when she saw smoke ris­ing into the air.

“I said to my de facto hus­band, ‘ there’s smoke, it looks like it’s near home’,” she said.

“I had a funny feel­ing and as soon as I said that, my niece who was here at the time called and said, ‘ you’d bet­ter come home be­cause the house is on fire’.”

The cou­ple ar­rived to see thick black smoke bil­low­ing from the house and their fam­ily sit­ting on the front lawn, watch­ing their home go up in flames.

Po­lice and fire crews re­sponded to the in­ci­dent about 5.30pm and stayed on scene un­til the fire was ex- tin­guished at 7.20pm. Fire­fight­ers twice braved the flames to make sure no­body was in­side.

It is be­lieved the fire was started by Ms Walsh’s four- year- old grand­son, who was play­ing with a lighter in a bed­room. No­body was in­jured by the blaze, which has seen the as­bestos- filled Ful­ham Rd Depart­ment of Hous­ing home con­demned.

“My main con­cern was for my mum and ev­ery­one in the house,” Ms Walsh said.

“I was so glad that ev­ery­body was safe – that’s the main thing.”

The fam­ily lost nearly ev­ery­thing in the inferno and were able to sal­vage only two boxes of be­long­ings.

“We lost all our fam­ily photos and wed­ding photos of my brother who lost his wife early this year,” Ms Walsh said. “Start­ing over is the hard­est part.” Neigh­bours helped out, lend­ing the fam­ily bed­ding and clothes.

“Our last home burnt down in 2010 and we lost ev­ery­thing then, as well,” Ms Walsh said.

Ms Walsh said any as­sis­tance from the com­mu­nity would be ap­pre­ci­ated and will con­tact the Sal­va­tion Army and other com­mu­nity groups to see if they can help.

My main con­cern was for my mum and ev­ery­one in the house

LENICE WALSH

Pic­ture: ZAK SIM­MONDS

HOME­LESS: Lenice Walsh with nephew Shane Yasserie, 14, and chil­dren Jason Doolan, 15, Alanna Doolan, 17, and Chris­tine Doolan, 20, in front of their gut­ted home.

Smoke pours from the Heat­ley home, which was de­stroyed by fire.

CHAR­LIE PEEL

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