Firefighters look over the remains of the minibus.
Firefighters look over the remains of the minibus. Craig Sadler

Blaze destroys minibus

FEARING a worst-case scenario, firefighters searched the remains of a charred minibus on Tuesday night for signs of life after fire had razed the vehicle.

The WA-registered Toyota minibus was left smouldering after the inferno, but a search by police and firefighters found that no one had been inside.

Fire crews from Tweed and the Gold Coast were called to Border Park Raceway, Tweed Heads, just before 8pm after members of the public noticed the blazing vehicle.

Police were yesterday trying to contact the vehicle's owner, who was thought to be staying with a friend in Cool- angatta.

Residents near the Binya Avenue scene rushed from their homes on Tuesday night when they heard explosions coming from the blazing vehicle.

Les Riches' Toyota Camry sedan, parked next to the minibus, was also destroyed.

“I was sitting there watching TV and I hard this boom,” Mr Riches said. “I thought it was a car backfiring.”

When Mr Riches saw the minibus alight and realised it was parked next to his car, he rushed to a neighbour's house to get help.

“I tried to get my car out but it was too hot,” he said. “I was trying to fumble around and get the key in, but I thought I'll just end up burning myself. I'm not insured either.”

Tweed Heads fire brigade station officer Martin Maher said firefighters searched the minibus to make sure the fire was completely out and to make sure the owner was not inside.

Mr Maher said there was some confusion as to whose jurisdiction the fire was in, so both Queensland and NSW firefighters attended.

Nearby resident Rohan Corkett smelled the smoke and then called 000 after seeing the fire.

He said he heard two explosions.

“The smell was strong,” Mr Corkett said. “The flames were pretty high; I'd say about two metres. The trees were on fire a bit too.”

The cause of the fire remained unknown.



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