Nine-year-old saves family from fire that tore down home
IT WAS a night of fire and loss unlike anything Ipswich has seen in years.
Hours after Emma Murphy and her daughter Charlotte lost everything in house fire in Ipswich on Saturday night, another blaze erupted in Sadliers Crossing, which left a family of eight with just the clothes on their back.
Vera Gibson and her partner Tyson Stark were asleep, as were two of their children, when the fire started around 2am on Sunday morning.
It was just as well their nine-year-old son Zoran wasn't though.
The youngster was on his was his way to the bathroom when he noticed the glow of fire in the living room.
Without hesitation, he alerted his parents to the danger, who awoke to sight of their home going up in flames.
Vera and Tyson tried valiantly to put the blaze out by using a big, wet blanket to smother the flames.
"At first the fire didn't look that big," Vera, said. "Then suddenly it looked like it was coming through the floor.
"Within moments it didn't matter what we did, the fire just kept getting bigger and bigger.
"Tyson had to physically push me out of the house; my hair was on fire and my hands were burned but I just didn't want to see everything destroyed.
Neighbours who heard the family's screams for help phoned fire crews.
"As we waited, we watched helplessly as everything we owned went up in smoke," Vera said.
Her battle with the blaze saw Vera sustain third degree burns on her hands, which will require skin grafting.
However the 41-year-old said the pain of her injuries didn't compare to the pain of the loss she and her family had suffered.
"You never expect something like this can happen to you," the mum of six said.
"We've lost so much, but this disaster could have been a lot worse if my son hadn't been awake at that moment.
"In a situation like that seconds count. The fire was lapping at our feet as we left the house.
"At one stage Tyson and my two-year-old son were trapped in the back of the house and had to fight their way out.
"We all got out alive though and that is what really matters. Zoran is our little hero.
"We have two smoke detectors which didn't go off until we fled the house, so without Zoran's warning the outcome could have been even worse."
With no home to go to and all their possessions lost, Vera and her family are now staying at her cousin, Michael Gibson's house in Leichhardt.
"We're trying to find a way to rebuild, it's hard but it's important we get some stability back in the kids' lives.
"We basically have to start from square one."
Since the disaster, members of the Ipswich community have already come to the aid of the distraught family, offering clothing, toys or whatever they can to help.
If anyone would like to help the family out, they can be contacted via Vera's cousin Michael on 0432 677 194.