‘Gone in minutes’: Family left with nothing after house fire
A mother and her teenage daughters have been left homeless and with only the clothes on their backs after a devastating fire tore through their Lowood property this week.
It reportedly took just minutes for the blaze, which occurred about midday on Friday, to consume the Main Street home, leaving in its wake a trail of devastation including charred remains and sentimental artefacts.
Resident Michelle Greenbank reportedly learned of the fire while visiting Brisbane for the day after she received a call from emergency services.
Her eldest daughter Crystal Everitt spoke with The Queensland Times on Saturday, revealing how it was a frantic phone call from her mother that first alerted her to the incident.
"I was in shock, mum was telling me the house was gone and that I needed to get over there because the cats were locked inside," she said.
Mrs Everitt, who resides about 15 minutes away from her mother's home, was confronted with a grim reality while racing to the scene.
"You could see the flames on the drive over there, by the time we got there the street was full of fire trucks, ambulances and police officers."
Upon arrival, Mrs Everitt discovered that her former family home had been reduced to a pile of ashes.
"The neighbours said they were trying to use their hoses to put the fire out, but they said they watched the house go down within minutes, it was engulfed really quickly," Mrs Everitt said.
"I was waiting for a while (on the street); it was taking them a long time to put the fire out because it was quite windy.
"My mum was racing home from Brisbane, she had only just left the house and got to Brisbane 10 minutes before she got the phone call."
Fortunately, Mrs Everitt's two younger sisters were at school during the ordeal, though the fate of the cats remained unknown for sometime.
One cat, Poopie, is still missing 24 hours on while the second has since been accounted for.
"My sister let the other cat out before she went to school in the morning, but Poopie was on the couch when mum left the house and the house was all locked up so we don't know if she got out," Mrs Everitt said.
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"My mum's not holding up very well, she's lost 47 years of her life and 30 years of memories of us children, our baby photos. She's lost everything."
The Fernvale and Lowood community have come out in droves to support the Greenbank family as they attempt to get back on their feet.
A GoFundMe page set up by Mrs Everitt has received more than $2100 in donations in 14 hours.
Ms Everitt said the community response had been "amazing."
"I'm trying to raise enough money for her to get back on her feet so she can get a new rental, somewhere to live," she said.
"Her co-workers at Porters Plainland have rallied together, they gathered up enough furniture to fill a whole house just through their own community.
"They managed it all within a few hours, they're also trying to search for somewhere for her to live but they're going to hold onto that furniture until she's got a new place."
The family are reportedly in desperate need of warm clothing, shoes, toiletries, and other household goods - all of which were destroyed in the blaze.
"They only have the clothes on their back," Mrs Everitt said.
A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokesman said investigations into the cause of the fire were ongoing, though it was not believed to be suspicious.
Those who wish to donate goods can drop them to Porters Plainland or make a financial contribution by clicking here.
Read more stories by Kaitlyn Smith here.