REAL LIFE

House fire horror: How this woman’s house was reduced to ashes in EIGHT MINUTES

Her sweet pups were trapped inside...

Here, Kylie Lehmann, 48, from Brisbane, Qld, tells the story in her own words.

Taking a sip of coffee, I heard kookaburras laughing, while other beautiful birds landed on my deck railing.

My friend Matt and I were having a cuppa before he helped me assemble an antique four-poster bed.

Draining our mugs, we headed down to the ground floor of my three-storey timber home, my fox terrier Lola and Jack Russell Ted trailing close behind.

Lola with Ted when he was a pup
Lola with Ted when he was a pup (Credit: Supplied)

It was hot, so I switched on the fan, then chucked some wet towels in the dryer while Matt drilled away.

All of a sudden, the fan stopped whirring. Then, the dryer went silent.

‘Bloody hell,’ I groaned.

My rental was gorgeous, but since moving in last July, I’d been plagued with circuit issues.

Over the drone of Matt’s drill, I could just make out a beeping sound.

‘Can you hear that?’ I asked him.

Matt shook his head and kept working.

Sensing something wasn’t right, I bolted up the stairs, Lola and Ted right behind me.

At the top, I could see smoke coming from the kitchen.

The beeping was the fire alarm! I realised with horror.

Flames licked the outside of the microwave and they seemed to be coming from the power point.

The cabinet above was alight, as was the drawer underneath – where my fire extinguisher was kept!

I can’t get to it, I panicked.

Along with Matt, I had two guests in the house too.

‘Get out! Go! Ring the fire brigade,’ I screamed.

I can’t put out an electrical fire with water, I thought. And tea towels won’t cut it…

Racing down the hall, I pulled open the linen cupboard and grabbed the thickest towels I could find.

By the time I got back moments later, the crackling flames had spread across all the cabinets, the top of the fridge and the bench top.

But trying to smother the blaze with the towels, I was inadvertently stoking it!

The inferno
The inferno (Credit: 7News)

Oven hot, strands of my hair sizzled and snapped.

Thick black smoke filled the room, leaving me gasping.

There’s nothing I can do! I realised, racing out the front door.

Thankfully, everyone was out. But my sweet pups were nowhere to be seen!

Spinning around, I ran back into the inferno and spotted Lola and Ted on the stairway leading up to the top floor.

My babies looked so scared and confused.

As I scooped them up, one under each arm, I could see into the kitchen.

Now, the walls were on fire – and it had spread to the lounge room too, orange flames hungrily devouring all my belongings.

Glancing down the way I’d come, plumes of smoke clogged the stairway.

Which way do I go? I fretted.

Already struggling for air, I’d be overcome if I tried to go out the front door…

Heading to the back stairs, it was like the flames were chasing me. With every step I took, the searing heat grew.

Charging down the back stairs, the house made an eerie whoosh as the entire wooden structure set alight.

Racing past the pool, I went behind it to the cabana, hoping the water would create a barrier between me and the raging inferno.

I hoped the pool would create a barrier
I hoped the pool would create a barrier (Credit: Supplied)

Just then, a gas bottle exploded and shrapnel hurtled through the air.

Terrified, Lola launched out of my arms and ran back towards the blaze!

Throwing Ted over the fence to a passer-by, I yelled, ‘Catch him for Christ’s sake!’ then ran back for Lola.

‘I can’t get out!’ I screamed, passing Lola over as well.

I was trapped!

Surrounded by bush, it was only a matter of time before that went up in flames too!

Meanwhile, two neighbours started trying to rip the wooden fence panels out with their bare hands.

They managed to get a loose one free, but the rest were stuck firm.

‘Get out of the road!’ I screamed. ‘I’m going to kick the fence in!’

Smashing six panels out with all my force, it was enough to slip free.

Then, in complete shock, I watched on as everything I owned burned.

Even the two precious rings that had belonged to my late mum, Caroline.

Losing her at just 15, it was all I had left of her.

What about a bushfire? I worried. And my neighbours and their homes?

Soon the fireys arrived and I was bundled into the back of an ambulance.

Shaking like a leaf, my throat burned from smoke inhalation.

Then the roof caved in with a roar.

‘Whoa!’ I heard spectators gasp.

It felt like hours had passed, but it had only taken eight minutes for my house to be reduced to a shell.

It took nine fire trucks to extinguish the blaze.

A month on, the ordeal has been horrific and taken its toll.

Investigators ruled that the fire was caused by an electrical fault.

But losing everything, including my photo ID, it’s hard to even get a hotel room.

I was insured, but it won’t cover everything I’ve lost – not by a long shot.

I’ve been blown away by the generosity of some.

And although I’ve lost all my possessions, at least I still have my two beautiful pups.

With them by my side, I will re-build my life.

To help Kylie, please dig deep and contribute to her Go Fund Me. 

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