Darling Downs rallies behind family after house fire
A DARLING Downs community is rallying around a family of 10 who could do nothing but watch as their home burnt to the ground.
Smoke alarms woke parents Brenda and Donald Lawrence shortly before 3am when they managed to evacuate with their son Kyle Willet and his wife Ashley, and siblings DJ Andri, 10, and Lachlan Andri, 7.
Children Keah Hall, 14, Josh Lawrence, 7, Anika Lawrence, 6, and Lidia Lawrence, 5, were not at the home at the time.
Daughter Kasey Hutchinson said the help and support from the Dalby community had been overwhelming.
"The support has been wonderful," she said.
"There are just no words for how wonderful it has been.
"The family is in shock, but they're doing okay."
Dalby fire captain Ian Tuppack said it took 16 fire-fighters about 20 minutes to bring the well-involved home under control.
"All occupants had been alerted by smoke alarms and had evacuated by the time we arrived," he said.
"The safety message here is that working smoke alarms save lives."
Toowoomba fire investigators were yesterday assisting the Dalby unit.
While the investigation outcome is still being determined, Capt Tuppack said Christmas lights were not believed to be involved.
"No Christmas lights were on and I believe at this stage it has been attributed back to a candle," he said.
"It looks like it had been burning and forgotten about."
Capt Tuppack said the family had lost the entire contents of the timber home.
"It's total loss of contents," he said.
"The house is not repairable."
Fire-fighters were called back to the house with reports the fire had broken out again about 10am. The smouldering remains of a life jacket were found in a boat parked beside the house.
Ms Hutchinson said her parents had already received donations through groups such as Helping Hands and the Western Downs Outreach Project.
"We've gotten little things like shoes and cutlery already," she said.
"Everything is a big help - furniture, clothes, just everything."
The Western Downs Outreach Project has established an account on behalf of the family. Representative Jason Vella asked people to support the cause.
Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Lawrence Family Appeal Fund at the Commonwealth Bank in Dalby, or via internet banking BSB 064 412 and account number 1028 4631 under account name WDOP Lawrence Family.