‘My dog saved my life’: Amazing house fire rescue
WITH nothing but the clothes on his back and the dog that saved his life, Mitch Hall watched on as his Kaimkillenbun home burnt to the ground in the early hours of Monday morning.
On what was a boiling hot night on Sunday evening, Mr Hall turned on an old air conditioner from outside the house in an attempt to cool down.
When he realised the air conditioner was too old and weak to do anything, he turned it off again and went to sleep on the couch.
What followed could have ended in tragedy if it weren't for some assistance.
"I don't know how long I was out for but I woke up and my dog was nosing under my arm and lifting my arm up with his head and generally annoying me a bit.
"I woke up and tried to find out what he was doing inside, and there was smoke all through the house.
Grabbing his dog and nothing else, Mr Hall ran outside and discovered the air conditioner had gone up in flames.
"I was talking to triple-0 and trying to bucket water from the pool out to this air conditioner to try and put it out," he said.
"As many buckets as I brought over, it didn't seem to be doing anything."
But by the time he had escaped, the floorboards of the house had caught alight and the inferno was spreading from room to room.
"It got to a point where I realised it wasn't doing any good so I tried to race inside to see if I could save anything," he said.
"I took a couple of steps inside and realised how smoky it was so I got out of there.
"The ute was pretty close to the house so I stuck the dog in the ute and jumped in the ute and drove off.
"I just sat out the front and watched it burn."
Emergency services arrived at the house close to 1am on Monday morning, and didn't stop working until the fire was contained at 3am.
What was left was a charred clothesline, a few cans and bottles, and little else.
It was a surreal experience for Mr Hall as he sat and watched his worldly possessions disappear in the fire.
"You're sitting there watching everything you had go up in smoke," he said.
"I don't know if there's much to say about it - you're just a bit gutshot."
Mr Hall's housemate Kirsten Butters was in Brisbane at the time of the fire, but will never forget the moment she received the harrowing phone call.
"I was speechless," she said.
"And anyone who knows me knows I have never been speechless.
"I had more than he had because I was away in Brisbane so I had an overnight bag and maybe three sets of clothes."
Gordon Ashelford from the Kaimkillenbun RFS has volunteered for more than 20 years and seen countless devastating fires. But the fire that destroyed the home on Old Bunya Rd on Monday morning was the worst he's ever seen.
Mr Ashelford was one of the first people on the scene, and the sight of the house in flames was chilling.
"By the time we got here, everything was well alight," he said.
"It was all pretty much gone, so all we could do was contain it from going further down the paddock."
A GoFundMe has been set up to help the pair compensate for their losses.
While Miss Butters had a few possessions with her, Mr Hall escaped only with his dog and the clothes on his back.
To donate to the pair, click here.