Man homeless after Baralaba fire

BLOWN APART: Baralaba fire brigade captain Rob Price with the remians of a gas cylinder that exploded during TUesday's fire.
BLOWN APART: Baralaba fire brigade captain Rob Price with the remians of a gas cylinder that exploded during TUesday's fire.

A BARALABA man was left homeless after fire destroyed his two-storey house on Tuesday.

Gary Anning lost his dog and all his possessions inside his home in the fire that quickly consumed the Power Street house after the blaze started about 11.30am.

The home was well alight when fire crews arrived.

Baralaba Fire Brigade captain Rob Price said Mr Anning was working under the house, but had gone upstairs to answer the phone when the fire started.

He managed to escape before a gas cylinder exploded.

Mr Price said that by the time the three fire crews arrived the house could not be saved, but with strong winds fanning the blaze, they worked hard to stop it spreading to neighbouring homes.

“The firies did an excellent job to save the house next door,” Mr Price said.

Others had also helped.

He said staff at the Baralaba State School just across the road had done well to move students to safety.

Three ambulance crews assessed 80 students for smoke inhalation and 10 were taken to hospital as a precaution.

Two firefighters joined the children, one with smoke inhalation and another with minor burns on his hands.

All were allowed to go soon afterwards.

A friend had offered Mr Anning, a self-employed a bobcat operator believed to be in his 40s, a temporary place to stay.

Mr Anning is understood to have lived alone.

Baralaba Post Office owner Ellen Everingham said the community would rally around Mr Anning in his personal tragedy, as he was well known to everyone in Baralaba for his generosity.

She said he frequently offered the use of his machinery, which survived the fire, and freely gave his own time to nearly every organisation in town.

There will be an appeal for Mr Anning at the Baralaba Pub at 5pm on Sunday. Yesterday he was too distraught to talk as he had just buried his beloved dog.

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