Neighbours have reported smelling fuel and hearing a woman’s cries for help as an explosion and fire tore through a Brisbane home, killing three people.
The Everton Hills house was engulfed in flames about 5.30am Tuesday, sparking a dramatic rescue attempt by two men.
But the ferocity of the blaze – which sent flames four storeys into the air – beat them back and firefighters took almost an hour to bring it under control.
When they searched the two-storey brick property in Pavonia Street, they found the bodies of two women and a man.
Police are yet to identify the dead and say the damage to the house has slowed down their investigation.
It is unclear if the explosion sparked the fire, or if it was the other way round.
“There’s been one or two signs that have indicated and aroused our suspicions,” Detective Acting Inspector Joe Zitny said.
Vehicles had been heard speeding away from the property around the time of the incident, he added.
Investigators will remain at the scene for a number of days and have appealed for witnesses to come forward, with witnesses reporting smelling fuel.
“There were explosions reported by neighbours, the smell of fuel, things like that,” Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Superintendent Bevan Moore told The Courier-Mail.
Neighbour Luke Demner and another man desperately tried to get into the burning house to save the occupants.
“There were flames meeting me at the door,” Mr Demner told The Courier-Mail.
“We tried kicking in the front door, but no luck, so we went around the back. The glass door was already open, but we called out and didn’t hear anything back.”
Another neighbour Lindsay Ostrofski said he heard an explosion that was “like a bomb”.
Rowena Ostrofski said she heard a woman crying “help, help”.
Nicola Bigarelli lives five doors away and was up before dawn, feeding her baby, when a succession of loud bangs rang out.
“At about 4.45am I heard a bang, and then I heard more bangs every 10 to 15 minutes after and they were slowly getting louder. It sounded like construction, like wood snapping or metal being hit,” she told AAP.