By Kate Wilson
A BIRTHDAY celebration was cruelly interrupted yesterday when the Thompson-Richardson family rushed home to find their dream home reduced to smouldering rubble.
Just days before Christmas, precious little remains of the Rosedale house.
"There is nothing left except the skeletons of the lounge suite and the kids' beds," Peter Thompson said. "It's just levelled to the ground."
Mr Thompson, who was diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis earlier this year, said the family were excited about going out to celebrate his birthday in Bundaberg.
"We don't go out very often, so the little ones were pretty excited," he said.
"But we didn't even get to sit down for dinner."
Instead of preparing for relatives arriving for Christmas, Mr Thompson and his wife Claudia Richardson will meet with fire investigators and then try to find clothing and presents for their children.
"We are insured and the neighbours have been kind enough to take us in for a few days," Mr Thompson said.
"But who knows how long it will be before we have that all organised - and Christmas is just days away."
Rosedale Rural Fire Brigade first officer Col Schafer said the house had been well alight before firefighters from his unit and Gin Gin arrived at the scene.
"The house was completely razed by the fire," Mr Scafer said.
"We were lucky that they had a pool we could pump water from."
Mr Thompson said the fire had hit the family hard - they moved to Rosedale just three years ago.
"We moved here for the lifestyle," Mr Thompson said.
"All of the things we had bought recently are gone. Our neighbour arrived at our house just in time to hear our plasma screen go pop."
Fire investigators are expected to examine the house today.