Blaze tears through cabin at tourist park, sparks evacuation
REISDENTS have been evacuated after a fire destroyed a building and a gas leak was discovered at a Sunshine Coast tourist park.
Residents at the Alex Beach Cabins and Tourist Park in Alexandra Headland raised the alarm at 10.30pm after one of the cabins went up in flames.
Witnesses recounted to the Daily that the owner of the cabin, who was unwell, was been wrapped in a blanket prior to the fire.
He reportedly cast the blanket aside when he ran to the bathroom to be ill.
The blanket was thrown unintentionally over a heater, which caught fire and quickly spread.
Plumes of smoke and an ominous red glow could be seen in the night's sky, prompting a swift response from the Maroochydore Fire Station.
Maroochydore Fire Station acting station officer Matthew Foster said six crews were mobilised due to the clouds of smoke and glow that could be seen.
"Before arrival we could see in the distance large volumes of smoke and glow in the sky which caused more units to head there," he said.
Despite the smoke cloud, only three units were required to get the blaze under control.
When fire crews arrived, the blaze had jumped from the cabin to a neighbouring caravan and annex on either side.
Mr Foster said that the cabin was already fully engulfed by flames when crews arrived.
"On arrival, it was well involved and all persons were out," he said.
"The fire had spread to one caravan on one side and another side there was an annex on fire.
"There was a lot of radiant heat."
The fire was brought under control within 15 minutes, but it was once the fire was under control that firefighters realised they were also dealing with a gas leak.
Mr Foster said firefighters quickly evacuated the neighbouring six tenants of the tourist park, while a gas leak specialist was called in to isolate the leak.
"It took nearly an hour and a half to isolate the leak, which was dealt with a gas examiner that was brought onto the scene," Mr Foster said.
"We were there for approximately three hours (in total) due to the gas leak.
"We ended up removing the gas bottle from the caravan park into open area after evacuation had taken place."
Firefighters praised the residents and management of the Okinja Road tourist park for their quick thinking and swift action.
"The residents did a really great job to stop it (spreading to) other caravans," Mr Foster said.
"They had hoses going on either side."
The fire was extinguished just before midnight, with firefighters declaring the scene safe at 1.20am.
Even though winter is over, Sunshine Coast firefighters are urging residents to stay fire safe with heating appliances.
"It's still coming out of winter but just be aware of heaters," Mr Foster said.
Paramedics treated two people at the scene, one for burns and one for smoke inhalation.
The person who suffered a burn to their foot but declined transport to hospital, but the 61-year-old man with minor smoke inhalation taken to Nambour Hospital in a stable condition.