Woolloongabba Residents Evacuated as Inferno Engulfs 4 Homes, Police Declare Fire Suspicious

A fierce early morning blaze erupted in Woolloongabba, engulfing multiple homes and prompting an evacuation of the area. Firefighters battled the flames as they rapidly spread through four properties on Heaslop Street. 

Whilst no injuries or casualties have been reported, the extent of property damage has left residents and authorities concerned.

The Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) received the initial emergency call at approximately 2:30 a.m. on 24 Aug 2023.

Upon arrival, they encountered a devastating scene with two homes already in flames and ultimately collapsing due to the intensity of the blaze. 

QFES Superintendent Tim Watkins expressed the challenges they faced, stating that it had been around 25 years since he’d witnessed a fire of such magnitude.

Queensland Police invoked the Public Safety Preservation Act (PSPA) and authorities on-site swiftly implemented an exclusion zone around the affected area, encompassing Heaslop Street, Merton Road, Catherine Street, and Annerley Road.

Tower Ad
Photo Credit: QPS 

This safety measure aimed to protect both residents and emergency responders from the hazardous conditions caused by the fire’s aftermath. 

The PSPA is declared in instances that necessitate “… protection for members of the public in terrorist, chemical, biological, radiological or other emergencies that create or may create danger of death, injury or distress to any person, loss of or damage to any property or pollution of the environment and for related purposes.”

Whilst the PSPA was eventually revoked, members of the emergency crew remained on the scene to ensure the utmost safety of the residents. 

Luke Wormwal, the proprietor of the neighbouring VHS Cafe, generously unlocked the doors of his establishment, offering a haven for evacuated neighbours. He distributed food, ensured warmth, and provided shelter, all whilst harbouring concerns for his own business due to the proximity of the fire. 

Although the fire had been extinguished by 6:00 a.m., the aftermath was distressing.

Two homes were razed to the ground, including a 123-year-old heritage home; whilst two other homes suffered significant damage.

Police detectives are treating the incident as suspicious and have initiated an investigation. Witness accounts from multiple individuals are being collected to piece together the events leading up to the fire.

Published 24-Aug-2023