Model aircraft sparked a fire that destroyed parts of a property west of Ipswich.
Model aircraft sparked a fire that destroyed parts of a property west of Ipswich.

'Toy plane destroyed our home and killed our chickens'

A Queensland family are suing for close to $1 million dollars after a radio-operated model aircraft crashed on their rural property sparking a blaze that made their home unlivable.

Vicki and Rob Burton fought the fire to save their home, west of Ipswich, but still have no running water two years on.

Water tanks, stables, a cottage being restored for their daughter, fencing, feed and hay were destroyed in the fire that ravaged their 137ha property.

Mrs Burton, 58, is suing the owner of the crashed model aircraft and a model aircraft club and an aeronautical association, claiming $835,509 in damages for alleged negligence.

She remembers smelling smoke just before her husband came running to tell her there was a fire and they had to get down there straight away and fight it.

"It spread really fast. It was a total fire ban day,'' Mrs Burton said.

"It came within three metres of our house.''

Vicki and Rob Burton's Calvert property, west of Ipswich, showing damage from 2018 fire, sparked by a crashed remote controlled model aircraft.
Vicki and Rob Burton's Calvert property, west of Ipswich, showing damage from 2018 fire, sparked by a crashed remote controlled model aircraft.

Mrs Burton said the fire destroyed so much, including about two years' worth of hay production, but she was most upset by the loss of an original cottage.

It was being renovated for a daughter to live in.

The claim alleges on September 16, 2018, the president of Calvert Radio Aero Modellers Society decided not to let people fly model aircraft from a field, next to the Burton property, because of strong winds and a fire ban.

However, one man was allowed to operate his model aircraft under supervision by a Model Aeronautical Association of Australia instructor, the claim said.

It is alleged when his model aircraft crashed onto the Burton property, batteries ruptured and caught fire.

The fire then spread throughout the property, damaging power poles, buildings, cattle yards, irrigation systems and vehicles.

Chickens were killed and some horses were later injured, as a result of the fire, the claim says.

Vicki and Rob Burton's Calvert property, west of Ipswich, showing damage from 2018 fire, sparked by a crashed remote controlled model aircraft.
Vicki and Rob Burton's Calvert property, west of Ipswich, showing damage from 2018 fire, sparked by a crashed remote controlled model aircraft.

Mrs Burton said her daughter Natashja put dogs and puppies in a car and walked her stallions out through the fire to safety.

She later had to live with her dogs in the family's Rosewood business office.

The couple lived in a pub for months after the fire, while their chronically ill daughter had to move in with her elderly grandmother, court documents claim.

"We still have no internal plumbing, no tanks so have to buy in water every two three days,'' Mrs Burton said.

"We were victims of something we didn't create,'' said Mrs Burton, who said she still hates living next to the model aircraft airfield.

Model Aeronautical Association of Australia, Calvert Radio Aero Modellers Society and the crashed model aircraft owner, David Bussenschutt are yet to respond to the claim.

MAA secretary Tyson Dodd said the operator of the model aircraft that day did not break any Civil Aviation Safety Authority regulations.

Originally published as Toy plane destroyed our home, killed our chickens


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