Neighbours tell of horror as home goes up in flames
A TOWNSVILLE man has been flown to Brisbane in a critical but stable condition after being badly burned in a house fire while his wife is overseas in America.
Wayne Tagney, 62, suffered burns to more than 70 per cent of his body including his face after he was pulled from his burning two-storey home at 53 Lonsdale St, Gulliver shortly before 9pm on Sunday.
Firefighters found Mr Tagney inside the home owned by him and his wife, Denise.
Townsville Tactical Services Inspector Sean Dugger said the home was "well alight" by the time emergency services arrived.
Insp Dugger said Mr Tagney had "suffered significant burns to a large part of his body".
"The house was well alight and QFES personnel have entered the house and retrieved a 62-year-old male person who suffered significant burns to a large percentage of his body," he said.
"It was exceptionally good by the QFES officers in retrieving the male."
Insp Dugger said the home was extensively damaged by the fire.
Mr Tagney was rushed to Townsville Hospital in a critical condition before being flown to the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital on Monday morning for further treatment at its specialist burns unit.
Mr Tagney was the only person inside the home, with his wife away overseas.
She will be travelling back to be by her husband's side.
Insp Dugger said police investigations were ongoing but "at this stage there's no suspicious circumstances".
Neighbour Cassi and her partner Joe were among the first people on the scene on Sunday night.
"Everything just happened really quickly, I was in my bedroom and I heard an explosion," Cassi said.
"He (Joe) was sitting right there in the living area, and he's just yelled out 'there's a fire across the road'.
"So we both jumped up and he just ran over and I called triple-0 straight away.
"They asked if anyone was there and there was a car in the driveway, so I said that was a possibility.""I said the windows are exploding and everything, so they just said to keep everybody away because everyone was trying to get in to see if anyone was there.
"They had to get out because if there was gas or anything and it goes boom, you could all get hurt.
Cassi said her partner was running around the bottom storey of the house and banging on doors to try and make sure people got out of the home.
"But it got to the stage when everyone just had to get away," she said.
Cassi praised the work of emergency crews when they arrived at the scene.
"The fireys came and put out the fire, took him (Mr Tagney) out and put him straight on an ambulance - it was out pretty quickly," she said.
"There were a few delays in trying to find where the fire hydrant was, and everyone in the neighbourhood was out looking trying to find out, then one was found across the road.
"It certainly makes you think that these things can happen to anyone.
"This is a very calm, quiet neighbourhood."
Jess, who has lived on the street for about a year after moving from Victoria, said Mr Tagney was a pleasant neighbour.
"I've had a couple of chats with him and he's such a nice man," she said.
"There was a guy who was there first just running around the house and seeing if anyone was in there.
"I've got a little one and we closed the doors and windows, it was pretty scary.
"I went to the hospital with a card and stuff to give him, but they couldn't tell me anything because I didn't have his last name.
"We just hope he's OK."
Doug Allom, from Wulguru fire station, told the Townsville Bulletin the kitchen was on fire with flames seen "coming out of the structure".
He said the main damage occurred in the kitchen but there was smoke damage to the upstairs of the house.
Mr Tagney was found in the upstairs section of the home by firefighters.