A man and two young boys have died in a raging afternoon fire that consumed their family home in Kingaroy, in Queensland’s South Burnett region.
A boy who was snatched from the flames by passersby has been taken to Kingaroy Hospital suffering from what are described as serious injuries.
A woman, believed to be his mother and partner of the dead man, was being treated for shock.
“The one male child, about five years old, came to the middle window on the Kingaroy Street side and that child was grabbed out,” Kingaroy Police Sergeant Ron Reynolds said, hailing the samaritans’ courage in braving the searing flames to rescue the child’s life.
“I have to commend their actions. The fire was pretty severe, so to do what they did was courageous on their part.”
Sergeant Reynolds said people driving past the public housing home on Kingaroy Street on Saturday noticed smoke billowing beneath the eaves at about 1pm.
He said they then saw the other end of the house engulfed in flames.
“They stopped and tried to render assistance while banging on the walls to see if there was anybody inside,” he said.
Investigators have yet to establish how the fire started, but investigators are on the scene and were expected to continue working through the night.
“We have a local scenes-of-crime officer here but he’ll be assisted later in the night by specialist staff from Brisbane and” Sergeant Reynolds said.
“We may even need disaster-victim identification to attend to identify the bodies properly.”
Police said the family had moved to the south-east Queensland town from Cherbourg just before Christmas.
Jacinda Osborn, who lives around the corner from Kingaroy Street, told the ABC she smoke billowing from the property.
“Big black smoke [was] coming over the rooftops, and then … you could see the flames flickering through all the smoke,” Ms Osborn said.
“We could hear the ambulance and the firies and everything just around the corner.
“It was quite loud because we are so close.”