‘I might die‘: Teen recalls extraordinary tale of survival
IT WAS a split-second decision that saved Beau Williams' life as a fierce fire came racing towards his Cooroibah home.
The 18-year-old, who is due to finish Year 12 this coming week, was home alone studying for his final exam when disaster struck.
Beau and his father Brian's home, where they have lived for seven years, was the only one destroyed is the blaze that tore through Cooroibah bushland on Friday afternoon.
A basic fire plan of running towards the lake is what the teenager believed kept him alive.
"Running down to the lake, I thought of it as my only way to get out of there," Beau said.
"It was a split second decision, I cant even say that I thought about it, it was just that if I didn't do that I might very well never leave this property and I might die."
Brian, a single dad who has raised Beau since he was young, was in Mooloolaba for work at the time the leave now advice was issued.
Thinking the smoke was "ages away" Beau thought there would be time for his dad to come home.
Beau moved a few cars into a clearing and attempted to save what he could before he realised he needed to leave with just the clothes on his back.
Unable to get home, Brian waited near a jetty, when finally, emerging from the smoke with his shirt covering his mouth, was Beau.
He said he was "proud" of his son.
"He made the right call and im proud of him," Brian said.
"I had been talking to Beau on his phone all the time and then his phone died but somehow I knew that he was heading down to the lake," Brian said.
"That's actually quite safe if you can you can get down to the water you can swim across the lake … that's always been our fire plan."
"You've just got to have a basic plan and that's always been our plan since we moved onto the property."
Beau said the emergency showed just how dangerous a fire can be.
"You just don't understand how crazy a fire is, how fast they come and how devastating it can be," he said.
"I knew our property was gone, I saw fires staring all over our property before I left."
"The last thing I thought that would happened when I got home that afternoon was that I wouldn't have a house by the end of that afternoon."
Despite their ordeal, both Brian and Beau were emotional but seemed in good spirits.
"It hits in waves occasionally, but it hasn't really sunk in yet," Beau said.
A fundraising page has been set up to help the family rebuild.
"The generosity has been the most amazing, people are so beautiful," Brian said.
"We're resilient, we'll rebuild."
To donate to Brian and Beau, click here.