Family of 7 loses all in van blaze
PREGNANT with her sixth child, Kristy Bagnall looked up from her TV to see smoke and flames in the bedroom of her family's rented Childers caravan yesterday.
Realising the imminent danger to them all, she frantically took four of the children to safety in the grounds of the Childers Central Caravan Park.
An unidentified Nepali man grabbed the other child before the distraught family was forced to watch all their worldly possessions incinerated in the blaze.
“I looked up from the TV to see the smoke coming off the mattress in the bedroom,” Ms Bagnall said.
“All I could think of was to get the children to safety, then I tried to go back in to get stuff out, but I couldn't get in.”
Indian visitor Chaten Duggal said he was with the unidentified man at the time.
“I was trying to ring the fire brigade on my mobile phone with the Nepali guy,” Mr Duggal said.
“The little fellow was just inside the van area as the fire was getting worse when the Nepali guy went in and got him out.”
Ms Bagnall's partner, Nathan Waters, rushed from his workplace to find his family safe, but was confronted by the sight of firemen damping down the smouldering wreckage.
“Everything we owned in the world was in there,” Mr Waters said.
“It wasn't much, but it was our everything.”
Ms Bagnall said the family had moved from New South Wales to find a better life in Childers about two years ago.
The couple and their children Toni, Leikita, Jesse, Jeff and Brock — ranging in age from 14 years down to one — were actually due to move into a house in a week.
Firefighters from Childers station were quick to attend the scene, but there was nothing for them to salvage, such was the ferocity of the blaze.
Paramedics also attended the scene, as did police, who are still investigating the cause of the fire.
Staff from the Childers Neighbourhood Centre were in the process of arranging emergency accommodation yesterday afternoon, and have started an appeal to help the family get back on its feet.
“We'll accept any donations here at the centre,” manager Kirstin Harrison said.
Anyone wishing to donate money, clothing and furniture is asked to call 4130 4690.