Family lucky to escape their blazing Yeppoon home alive
WHEN the flames were leaping over her head, Kayla Grant knew she had no choice but to flee her burning home.
Separated from her four young children by the wall of flames engulfing the master bedroom, she raced out the back door of her Yeppoon home.
She ran to the front of the house to find the youngsters - Gwen, 8, Leo, 4, Ruby 2, and Reif, 1 - huddled on the front veranda. Her eldest daughter Tarni, 11, was at school.
"I grabbed them and brought them down the steps," Kayla said. "Within two to three minutes, the flames were coming out the front door. Within eight minutes, the house was gone."
Reliving the horror of Friday morning's fire, Tayla praised daughter Gwen, who helped shepherd her younger siblings to safety.
"I was screaming at them to get out of the house.
"Gwen picked up the one-year-old and grabbed the two-year-old's hand and she made sure Leo followed her out the front door. I couldn't be prouder of her."
A stomach bug had kept Gwen home from school that day, a blessing that is not lost on Kayla.
The young family has lost everything, the ferocity of the blaze leaving the rented home unliveable. But Kayla is eternally grateful that they all escaped unharmed.
"It's all gone ... the photos of when I was a kid, all of my children's first little outfits, all of their things ... but we're still here and I thank my lucky stars that we are alive.
"It could have been so much worse."
The fire started when a free-standing clothes rack near the open bedroom window blew down on to a bar heater.
Kayla said she was vacuuming in the lounge room when she smelt the smoke.
"I checked to see if there was something burning on the stove and then I saw the smoke coming from the bedroom.
"I tried to put it out using a pillow. I picked up the clothes stand and tried to shake the flames out but that didn't work.
"It just kept burning and soon the fire had overtaken the bedroom.
"I knew it was time to get out when the flames were burning higher than my head."
Kayla said her children were still traumatised by Friday's events.
"It was terrifying," she said.
"Over the sound of the flames and the smashing windows, the deodorant cans exploding in the house, I could hardly hear anything."
Three appliances attended the scene and the fire was out within 30 minutes.