The scene of a house fire at Kitchener Street in Coorparoo. Pic Peter Wallis
The scene of a house fire at Kitchener Street in Coorparoo. Pic Peter Wallis

Random terror: Man torches home with young family inside

Police will allege a man set fire to a Brisbane home, while a young family were inside, in a random and unprovoked attack.

A 39-year-old Wynnum West man has been charged with four counts of attempted murder after he allegedly set the Coorparoo home on fire on October 1.

A young family was lucky to escape unscathed when their Kitchener Street home was gutted.

The damage to their home was exacerbated by firefighters' inability to immediately access flowing water following a recent road resurface that buried the hydrants.

The house was gutted by fire. Picture: 7 News
The house was gutted by fire. Picture: 7 News

The man, who was unknown to the family and did not have any prior communication with them, will front court today charged with the attempted murder of Dave and Anna Macdonald and their young daughters.

He will also face one charge of arson, one charge of enter dwelling with intent and two charges of enter premises with intent to commit indictable offence.

The Macdonald family were lucky to have escaped the inferno alive, as fire crews were unable to gain immediate access to fire hydrants following the road resurfacing by Brisbane City Council.

"The pavement had gone over the top of the fire hydrants so when the crews arrived they were unable to find them or get access to them," said Queensland Fire and Emergency Service Inspector Rohan Wilschefski.

 

A family of four were inside at the time but managed to escape. Pic Peter Wallis
A family of four were inside at the time but managed to escape. Pic Peter Wallis

 

"It wasn't until Urban Utilities came and told where the hydrants were located that we were able to dig them up."

BCC last week wrote in a statement to The Courier-Mail that covering the hydrants for road resurfacing was "standard practice".

"The hydrant locations are clearly identified with yellow spray paint and remain visible and functioning at all times. The hydrants in Kitchener Street, Coorparoo were also clearly marked with yellow paint," the statement said.

Although hydrants had been marked, firefighters had not been made aware they may be required to dig for water, said United Firefighters Union Queensland secretary John Oliver.

"No one tells us we have to dig out a hole," he said. "I think council need to change their procedures … to ensure that we have ready access to water in a street, otherwise lives could be lost."


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