LOST IT ALL: Paul Coward, Holly Meehan-Coward and Carter McNamara at Paul's house in Pinbarren. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
LOST IT ALL: Paul Coward, Holly Meehan-Coward and Carter McNamara at Paul's house in Pinbarren. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Irreplaceable treasures turn to ash in tragic house fire

DECADES of memories were lost in an instant when a huge fire ripped through a father's family home, leaving him with just the clothes on his back.

Pinbarren dad, Paul Coward, helplessly watched his home burn earlier this week after an electrical fault triggered the spark that claimed his most prized possession.

Mr Coward was celebrating his grandson's first birthday before he got the call in the early hours of Monday morning.

His daughter, Holly Meehan-Coward, rushed with her dad to the house just five minutes up the road, but it was too late.

LOST IT ALL: Paul Coward, Holly Meehan-Coward and Carter McNamara at Paul's house in Pinbarren. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
LOST IT ALL: Paul Coward, Holly Meehan-Coward and Carter McNamara at Paul's house in Pinbarren. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

"By the time we got there it was gone," she said.

"My family grew up there since I was four-year-old … he lost absolutely everything."

Seven firefighting crews were called to the property on Pomona Kin Kin Rd about 2.10am and found the single-storey home engulfed in flames.

Fire investigators initially thought the fire was deliberately lit but later deemed it caught fire from an electrical fault.

Flames took over the home before fire fighters arrived. Photo: Craig Warhurst
Flames took over the home before fire fighters arrived. Photo: Craig Warhurst

The fire was out by about 3.15am and firefighters left the scene about 5.30am.

Mr Coward, who also endured devastating floods that claimed his possessions in 2009, was not insured.

"All he had on him was his wallet … it's so tragic," Ms Meehan-Coward said.

Photos from the scene show the entire interior of the home gutted by fire, with charred plates and cups strewn across the burnt floor.

A Pinbarren home went up in flames early Monday morning. Photo: Craig Warhurst
A Pinbarren home went up in flames early Monday morning. Photo: Craig Warhurst

The 46-year-old's son, who lived behind the house, was first on the scene and tried to extinguish the flames before firefighters got there.

He suffered some minor burns but was lucky to escape without serious harm.

Ms Meehan-Coward said her dad was coping as best he could.

"He is staying with me in the meantime so he has a roof over his head for now," she said.

Mr Coward is on a disability pension and lives fortnight-to-fortnight after being diagnosed with schizophrenia.

His family has rallied around him and set up a crowd-funding campaign to help raise money for temporary accommodation.

Donate to the GoFundMe here.



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