80-year-old tourist with a bucket saves home, dog from fire

IF it wasn't for the quick-thinking actions of Tony Berry, a Woombye couple would have lost their home and beloved dog to fire.

The 80-year-old man, visiting from South Africa, was a passenger in his daughter Charmaine Grobler's car when he noticed smoke coming from the veranda of the Foley Rd residence as they travelled along Nambour Connection Rd around 1.45pm on Friday.

"When I saw this fire and I said to Charmaine, 'There's a fire on the house veranda there' and she said it would be someone having a barbeque, but I said 'No, that place is on fire' So we went to have a look," Mr Berry said.

Another passer-by, a mystery woman, had already stopped outside the house.

Neither stopped to discuss the matter, they both went into the home while Ms Grobler called 000.

"Time was of the essence," Mr Berry said.

"There was a lot of smoke in there and there was a dog which the lady said we must get, I think she was more concerned about the dog than the fire.

"I ran out onto the veranda to see the wall on fire and I looked around and found half a bucket of water with a plant in it, so I threw out the plant and threw the water onto the wall and that put 80% of it out.

"I was then taking jugs of water from the sink and other people arrived and went looking for the hose fittings and then someone sent a hose up."

Around half-a-dozen people worked to save the home.

A police officer on the scene told Mr Berry that if he hadn't sprung into action, the Wolfendens would have lost everything.

It is something that is not lost on Lee Wolfenden.

80 year old Tony Berry helped to save a house from burning down.
80 year old Tony Berry helped to save a house from burning down. Warren Lynam

"Lily would've been very scared and they saved everything that was in this house," she said.

"It was amazing, we can't thank them enough, and we would have nothing without them.

"If they hadn't turned around, the house would've been an inferno.

"We are so lucky that people around here are so kind-hearted."

Mrs Wolfenden said there was extensive damage to the back veranda and the flames had "melted" framework and window frames.

The blaze has been determined to be non-suspicious but its cause is yet to be determined.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting Nambour station officer Matthew Bruce said it only took a minute or two for a fire to take hold in a timber home.

"By the same token, besser brick homes can fill up with smoke quite quickly," he said.

"Every home should have smoke detectors installed and have them tested every year."

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