NARROW ESCAPE: The remains of the Palmyra Cres home in Buderim destroyed by fire.
NARROW ESCAPE: The remains of the Palmyra Cres home in Buderim destroyed by fire. John Mccutcheon

Women smash in door to rescue neighbour from burning house

TWO female Buderim residents did not hesitate to kick down the door of their neighbour's burning house to save the elderly man.

They couldn't afford to.

"I just felt it was now or never," said Sharon Kohncke, who rushed to the aid of John Hunt.

"We both felt that if we didn't do something he was gone."

The Palmyra Cres house fire ignited about 1am yesterday.

Ms Kohncke said she was woken by her elderly neighbour's smoke alarm and had initially thought it was her own.

She said she ran across the road and saw the man's next-door neighbour, Connie, who had already called the fire brigade.

Smoke was billowing from the elderly resident's garage at this point, so entering through his front door was their "only chance", Ms Kohncke said. "We banged on the door but there was no response.

"So we both kicked the door in."

Connie was good friends with the elderly resident and knew the layout of his house.

"She went in and got him out," Ms Kohncke said.

Palmyer Cres residents Sheryl and Darryl Naumann said they felt safe knowing such courageous people lived in their street.

"Without those ladies he wouldn't be alive," Mr Naumann said.

He grinned as he reflected on his caring neighbours.

"Sharon always comes running," he said. "It's a very tight neighbourhood. Everyone knows everyone."

The house in the modern, well-maintained area was destroyed by the fire.

It had been the first to be built on Palmyer Cres when the new street opened about eight years ago, Mr Naumann said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Service acting Superintendent for the Sunshine Coast Russell Thompson said the elderly man's home was decimated by the fire and would need a "complete rebuild".

"The best part of the house has been lost to fire, and what's left that hasn't been structurally damaged is very smoke and water damaged," he said.

The blaze was brought under control by local firefighters, and nobody was injured, Spt Thompson said.

The fire started in the garage of the home, but the cause was not yet known, Queensland Fire and Rescue fire investigator Greg Scarlett said. He said he would now analyse the charred remains of the building to work out the exact point of ignition. A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the fire was not being treated as suspicious.



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