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Son, 6, in bedroom as flames began raging under house

Gympie Times

"HE WAS still in the house."

It was the moment that brought Lagoon Pocket dad Col Gamble to tears, as he recalled the rush to grab his six-year-old son Linc as flames began to engulf the family home on New Year's Day.

"Our six-year-old, he was in our bedroom, on the bed, playing his iPad," Mr Gamble said.

"We had two teenagers playing pool in the lounge room, and another bloke was lying on his bed asleep."

They were all oblivious to a fire under the house and in the kitchen.

Fire crews work desperately to contain the house fire at Lagoon Pocket
Fire crews work desperately to contain the house fire at Lagoon Pocket Jacob Carson

 

Mr Gamble was manning the barbeque at the back patio with the rest of the family at 10am when someone noticed smoke billowing from beneath the house.

"We went running up under the house there, and there were flames pouring out under the house," he said.

Col Gamble outside of the remains of his house.
Col Gamble outside of the remains of his house. Jacob Carson


Multiple fire extinguishers failed to beat back the fire, and when someone tried the hose there was no water pressure because the power had gone out.

"We ran up into the house and started yelling at people, and all the front of the house was on fire, all the kitchen; it was up the walls."

With the kids out of the house, Mr Gamble's next priority was to get his explosive ammunition away from the blaze.

 

Fire crews work desperately to contain the house fire at Lagoon Pocket
Fire crews work desperately to contain the house fire at Lagoon Pocket Jacob Carson


"I had a couple of guns in the gun safe there, and a heap of ammunition in there and gunpowder and everything else," he said.

"I got as much of that out as I could."

They also managed to save a dog and her four pups, which had all been under the house when the fire broke out.

Mr Gamble said the house was engulfed within minutes of the family's escape.

"A minute and a half, two minutes and it was all over," he said.

He attempted to save a car that had been parked under the house.

 

OVERWHELMED: Col Gamble and the smouldering remains of his family home.
OVERWHELMED: Col Gamble and the smouldering remains of his family home. Jacob Carson


"I opened the [car] door up and the flames were coming back down over the top of it, so I just thought bugger that."

Then there was nothing they could do but watch their home of five years burn to the ground.

The family escaped with virtually nothing - Mr Gamble didn't have a shirt or shoes, only the football shorts he was wearing.

But he said the fire could have taken much more if it had struck while the household was asleep.

"There was about 14 of us in the house at the time," he said. "If it'd happened at four o'clock in the morning, it could have been a different story."

The house was insured, and Mr Gamble said they escaped the inferno with the most important thing.

"You can replace everything, but you can't replace lives," he said.

"We got out, and we're all together."

He said the whole family was still "pretty shaken up", and was staying at a friend's home after the disaster.

As Mr Gamble spoke to The Gympie Times, a steady stream of well-wishers came by the house or called to offer their help.

"It's a little bit overwhelming, the generosity of people," Mr Gamble said.

"We've had people offer us houses, we've had someone offer us a car."