Community rallies to help fire victims
THE Pittsworth community is rallying around a family that has lost everything in a house fire.
David Anderson was dozing on the lounge yesterday after returning home from an early morning work shift when he was awoken by an explosion.
"I was watching Sky News and I heard this big bang," Mr Anderson said.
"I heard the bang before the smoke alarm or anything."
He ran into the kitchen where flames were coming out from a cabinet.
The fire was not big enough to stop him running past and out the back door to grab a hose and call 000.
Emergency services received the call at 9.40am, sending fire trucks from Pittsworth, Oakey and Toowoomba to the Tews Rd property, north of Pittsworth.
Mr Anderson tried to return inside after making the call, but the smoke and flames had intensified too much in the space of about a minute.
"I could not get back in."
He did as best as he could to control the flames and explosions with a hose and buckets until firefighters arrived.
Meanwhile, his wife Tanya had dropped their 17-year-old son Alex at work and his 15-year-old brother Will at school in Pittsworth before heading to work in Toowoomba at Queensland Rugby League.
Mrs Anderson was driving out of Clifford Gardens Shopping Centre after getting a coffee when she got the dreaded call from her husband.
She drove straight back home and was shocked by what she found.
"It is devastating because everything is gone," Mrs Anderson said.
Firefighters pumped water from a nearby dam as they fought the fire which was fanned by strong wind gusts.
Paramedics treated two of the firefighters for heat exhaustion at the scene.
Toowoomba firefighter station officer Tim Akers warned residents not to try to enter burning buildings.
"That is our job," Mr Akers said.
"The best thing you can do is wait outside for us."
Police said the blaze was not being treated as suspicious.
Phone calls of support were coming in to Mr and Mrs Anderson yesterday as they watched fire crews working on their destroyed home.
Anyone who wants to help the Andersons can email family friend Belinda Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org.