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Eleven feared dead in Qld house fire including 6 children

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Eleven feared dead in Qld house fire including 6 children

Post  Justiceforallkids on Wed 24 Aug - 5:18

Eleven feared dead in Qld house fire
AAP, Staff writers, Yahoo!7 August 24, 2011, 11:09 am

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At least seven children, the youngest just three, are among 11 people killed in a horrific house fire south of Brisbane, an uncle of a survivor says.

Faiumu Tafeaga said his nephew Misi Matauaina escaped by jumping out of the window of the blazing home after his partner woke him.

He leapt believing she and their two children, aged three and six, had got out, but when he fell to the ground he realised they were still inside.

He could do nothing to save them, Mr Tafeaga said.

"He thought his girlfriend and children had made it out of the house," he said.

"There was no time to go (back) into the house. He got a few burns."

Seven children - aged three, two six-year-olds, 11, 14, 16 and 17 - were in the house, along with three couples.

He said a total of 14 people had been inside the house. Three got out - his nephew, a grandfather and another man who he did not identify.

About 150 Tongan and Samoan people have gathered at the scene to mourn, with Premier Anna Bligh currently at the scene.

Pastor Terry Walker said a lot of Samoan and Tongan people came to his church, so he had been asked to go to the fire scene.

"Over the next couple of weeks I guess there will be a lot of helping out with food and doing what we can, clothing, whatever we can, because they are a big family," he told ABC Radio.

The home at Wagensveldt Street, Slacks Creek was engulfed by fire shortly after midnight, with the search for bodies now underway.

The victims are mainly from two Pacific Islander families who had shared the fibro, tin-roofed home that is now in ruins, its top storey collapsed into a blackened shell.

Two men escaped with relatively minor burns. At least one refused to leave the scene, staying to help emergency crews, who now face the terrible task of finding and recovering so many bodies.

Logan police Superintendent Noel Powers told reporters he had never seen anything like the devastation he faced in Wagensveldt Street in the early hours of the morning.

He could not confirm the age or sexes of the victims but it was clear many people had lost their lives.

"No, never in my service, never have I seen anything like this," he said.

"What is readily evident is that it's a total and utter catastrophe, a tragedy beyond all proportions."

He said the focus now was on sifting through the charred remains of the home to find the 11 presumed dead.

Supt Powers said some of the experts responding to the tragedy had helped in the aftermath of the Bali bombings, and warned that formal identification of the victims could take some time.

Eleven have perished in a house fire south of Brisbane. Photo: Seven Network.

"It is a very methodical process. In some instances it may come down to dental identification.

"We ask the community to understand that we need to be 100 per cent sure ... we'll be here for some time."

Fire and Rescue Service Acting Chief Superintendent Peter Ryan said it was not yet clear if the house was fitted with smoke alarms.

Neighbour Zac Pearson, 16, said five or six children lived in the house, which was blazing when he and his mother ran into the street.

"There were about five or six children and I have heard people have not made it," he told AAP at the scene.

"We used to go to the park down there and play some basketball. It's a shock, it's sad."

Neighbours reported hearing a series of loud explosions as the fire took hold and also engulfed two vehicles outside the house and four large LPG cylinders.

Another local, Britanny Butler, said she was distressed to find no children from the home gathered outside the disaster scene.

"It hurts me to see that when I did come here, there were adults from the house but there were no children," she told the ABC.

A police chaplain has gone to the scene to help comfort the grieving survivors and neighbours.

"It's a very close-knit community around here. Obviously feelings are quite raw at the moment," Supt Powers said.

He said the two men who escaped with their lives were extraordinarily lucky.

"They will be able just to sort of give us those last terrifying moments and just hopefully help us put all the pieces this together," he said.
"What's emerged here is just a big jigsaw puzzle. The pieces have to be put together and it's going to be a slow process."
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Re: Eleven feared dead in Qld house fire including 6 children

Post  malena stool on Wed 24 Aug - 22:13

A terrible tragedy Carly, it is sad to read of the loss of so many unfulfilled young lives.
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