Blaze destroys home despite brave police

Fire rips through a family home, leaving just a blackened shell.
Fire rips through a family home, leaving just a blackened shell.

A BLACKENED shell is all that remains of Kerry Motlee's home after a suspicious blaze engulfed the property of her family.

Already reeling from a family emergency, seeing her home destroyed on Saturday pushed the normally positive Anglicare worker to bitter tears.

"My mother had just had a stroke, and then I get a call saying my house has burned down," she said.

The community worker and mother was surrounded by family and friends from Chinchilla as she this week sifted through debris and melted plastic, salvaging what she could.

After years supporting the disabled and disadvantaged, she said she had no intention of staying in Tara.

Detectives are investigating the fire, which was contained to the residence by the heroic actions of two local police officers.

>> Woman, two children killed in highway inferno

>> 'Little angels' died with mum by their sides

Constable Justin Drier was on patrol with Constable Simon Giuliano at 12.45am on Saturday, and was about to retire when he noticed a smoke haze emanating from Binnie St.

Entering the property from the alley to the rear, Drier and Giuliano found flames licking the roof of the laundry and spreading fast.

After confirming the house to be empty, the officers exhausted their vehicle's fire extinguisher on the blaze and attempted to control it with a garden hose.

"I realised it was too far gone, and my immediate thoughts were to create a safety zone and protect the immediate neighbours. There were gas bottles by the house next door," Constable Drier said.

"You don't think in those situations, it was just instinct. My immediate concern was to protect the person, then the property.

"The firies were quite quick, but while it was happening it seemed like an eternity."

>> Wellcamp Airport terror threat rejected

>> Woman, two children killed in highway inferno

With help from the neighbours, 7 Binnie St was soaked before the flames spread, the red hot tin roof steaming with heat.

Neighbour Sue Eckhardt was frightened by the blaze, and thanked the constables for their quick action in saving her family home of 35 years from a similar fate as that of the Motlee residence.

"I had a terrible gut feeling that night. The dogs would not stop barking, and I knew something was wrong," she said.

"I heard this flicker, so I went inside to get my dressing gown. When I came out I saw the flames.

"Thank goodness for Justin; he went above and beyond the call of duty. Without him, we could have lost our home."

Tara firefighters, SES members and QAS ambulance officer David Hornsby all grabbed a hose and fought the fire until 5.30am, when it was declared safe.

Police investigators continue treat the incident as suspicious.

Topics:  fire house fire tara

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Landholders vow to fight carbon storage plan

Property Rights Australia chairman and local landholder Dale Stiller asks a question of the CTSCo representatives at an information session in Wandoan on Tuesday afternoon.

Carbon storage plan panned at information session in Wandoan

What's on in the Western Downs

LOOKING SHARP: Robyn Haig, Trudi Webster, Sally Thompson, Amanda Maurice and Kim Bowman were all looking the part for last year's Melbourne Cup Day.

What's on in the Western Downs.

This week's Pound Pets

DOUBLE TROUBLE: These two female bull arab cross puppies are bursting with energy (and mischief). They are both between 10-12 weeks old and have not had any of their vaccinations.

Looking to add a furry new addition to your family?

Local Partners

Southern siblings steal the show at campdraft

THE Chinchilla Show Grounds were packed to capacity for the 120th anniversary of the Chinchilla Grandfather Clock Campdraft.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June