THE lives of two Boonah residents were turned upside down when their beautiful and historic Queenslander home was engulfed by flames just days before Christmas.
David Bland and his wife Julie Jackson lost everything when the fire tore through their house in the afternoon of December 21.
Mr Bland had been home only minutes before the fire started, but left to take his mother to a medical appointment.
"I left the house at 1.15pm to take my mother, who lives with us, to a doctor's appointment," he said.
"Her appointment finished early so the plan was to go and get some fish and chips for lunch and come home."
But within 15 minutes, everything went terribly wrong. Mr Bland, who is a firefighter, had no idea the call-out he was about to receive was for his own home.
"After my mother's appointment, my mobile phone went off, like it does when you get a call-out. At that stage, I didn't actually know it was our house. The alert said Brook and Macquarie St, so it definitely got my interest," he said.
"I dropped my mum off at the fire station, which is the next street over, and rang Julie and asked her to come and pick her up.
"Then, as we (the fire truck) were coming down the street I then realised it was our house that was going up.
"I don't know what my initial thought was. I guess I just went into automatic mode and just worked. I was the first one putting water onto the house, seconds after arriving.
"The initial attack was on the rear left side of the house as there was smoke issuing from there.
"My first thought was maybe I could save the house and get the fire out. But it wasn't until I came to the back of the house that I saw the rest of the property. It was engulfed."
Due to the scorching summer day and the heat from the flames, many firefighters, including Mr Bland, had to be treated by paramedics.
"It was a crazy hot day and we just worked and worked. We had three firefighters who were taken to Boonah Hospital for heat exhaustion. Myself and a few others ended up in the ambulance, just taking our observations and cooling down."
Mr Bland said having worked as a firefighter for nine years, he was prepared.
"I was proactive. As we had a Queenslander type of home, I had purchased a lot of large, 9kg fire extinguishers," he said.
"Unfortunately that only works if you are home."
Thankfully, the family were insured.