The fire that tore through a block of units and a commercial business in South Brisbane on Thursday is believed to have been started by a clothes dryer machine.
The fire started in the unit block, which was gutted, the business next door was damaged and thick plumes of grey smoke were sent skywards, blanketing Brisbane CBD in a smoky haze.
Emergency services raced to the buildings on Vulture Street just after 6am. It took 11 crews, totalling more than 30 firefighters, several hours to bring the flames under control.
Fire Minister Craig Crawford said firefighters donned breathing equipment and went inside to search for three people who were missing for close to half an hour before they were accounted for.
About 8.30am, there were fresh fears a homeless man who sometimes slept at the units may have been inside when the flames took hold, but police confirmed he was safe 30 minutes later.
By 11.30am, a couple of crews were dampening down hot spots, with fire investigators waiting for the structural stability of the units to be assessed before they could examine the scene.
Resident Fabian Withers said he believed his clothes dryer started the fire.
“I woke up and went to the passageway, I could feel the actual heat coming from the floor and the smoke coming through the doors,” Mr Withers told Nine News.
“So I grabbed my son immediately, ran downstairs and then I found that the fire was underneath our house and it looked like the washing.”
One firefighter suffered a knee injury while fighting the flames and was taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
A woman believed to be in her 40s was also assessed with shortness of breath.
Thirty-one residents from the retirement home behind the fire were also evacuated as a precaution because of the smoke.
Nearby resident Graham Porter said he was about to drive to catch the ferry to Fraser Island when he saw the thick smoke.
“We brought the car out to put the trailer on about 6am and I looked across the church and saw the smoke,” he said.
“I went upstairs and [the flames] were huge.
Mr Porter said by the time he walked down the street to the scene, the fire had already spread to the commercial business next door.
“There was just huge flames, massive fire. Above the two-storey boarding house itself was three, four or even five metres above.”
Neighbouring business suffered fire and water damage.
QFES acting superintendent Richard Gorey said flames were still burning in the roofs of the buildings after the main fire had been extinguished.
“This is an older part of the city and obviously the buildings are a bit closer together than other inner-city suburbs so we saw our crews work hard to stop the fire … in its tracks,” he said.
Fire service scientific officers conducted air quality tests and residents downwind were warned to close their doors and windows.
Article by Toby Crockford – brisbane times – Source Link