House burnt to the ground at Langshaw
FLOODS and torrential rain could not save an old timber home from burning to the ground at Langshaw yesterday. In fact, they did just the opposite.
Neighbours and firefighters were forced to stand and watch as fire destroyed the home during a rare break in the relentless rainfall that caused creeks to rise and stopped emergency services reaching the site, about 15 minutes south-west of Gympie, in time to save it.
By the time the fire had run its course about midday the rain had started to fall in earnest again.
Neighbours some distance away were the first to see the spectacular flames and huge plumes of black smoke leaping from the house inhabited for decades by generations of Langshaw's Gallagher family. It perches on a hill overlooking Eel Creek and Eel Creek Rd.
Fears were held for several hours that one of the family members had perished in the blaze, but that family member - Sam Gallagher - later contacted neighbours to let them know he was fine.
His older brother Keith was in the house when the fire broke out, however, and was alerted to the flames by a barking dog.
He walked outside, thinking his younger brother had arrived, but discovered flames instead.
For a time, their father thought both men had been in the house, but nobody was able to reach Sam.
Police officers, two rural fire units, an urban unit and a swift water rescue team braved flooded creeks and roads to reach the fire by about midday, only to be thwarted by an engorged Eel Creek, which runs through the property and cuts the driveway.
One officer found a way to ford the floods on foot and get up to the house, and another borrowed a neighbour's quad bike to get to the house through the back of the property.
Investigators were last night trying to determine the cause.
TUESDAY: A house is on fire at Langshaw west of Gympie but fire crews are having trouble reaching the home due to major flooding in the Gympie Region.
Neighbours have reported large orange flames leaping from the building and are going to investigate the scene.
More updates as news comes to hand.