Hero who saved Gympie toddler from burning inferno

A BAREFOOT and humble hero emerged last night from a terrifying scene when a raging fire was seconds from claiming a young girl's life at a home on Stewart Terrace.

The toddler was asleep on a couch just metres from vicious flames that had already torn through part of the house.

Her hearing-impaired mother was hysterical outside, clutching her young sister, after escaping into the front yard.

A man rescued a toddler form a burning house in Stewart Tce on Tuesday night. The fire gutted the home. Photo: Frances Klein
A man rescued a toddler form a burning house in Stewart Tce on Tuesday night. The fire gutted the home. Photo: Frances Klein

 

Jacob Kinley is a hero after saving a woman from a burning Gympie house on Tuesday February 18. Photo: Philippe Coquerand
Jacob Kinley is a hero after saving a woman from a burning Gympie house on Tuesday February 18. Photo: Philippe Coquerand

Jacob Kinley, a 19-year-old apprentice boilermaker was driving home after grabbing dinner with his partner, when they saw the horror unfolding from the side of the road.

"There was a woman out the front screaming with one child- on her hands and knees," he said.

"At the time I didn't know she was deaf - I couldn't get anything out of her."

"I just had to see if anyone was in there trapped."

With no shoes on and in just footy shorts and a shirt, Mr Kinley said pure instict drove him to storm into the house.

"There was broken glass everywhere, gas bottles were exploding (and it was filled with) pure thick, black smoke.

 

The raging fire on Stewart Terrace, where a sleeping girl was rescued metres form the flames. Photo: Emma Avery
The raging fire on Stewart Terrace, where a sleeping girl was rescued metres form the flames. Photo: Emma Avery

"You couldn't really see in there whatsoever. It was just raging.

"I work as a boiler maker and I'm used to the heat and I've never seen anything like it.

"The child was sleeping within two metres of the fire.

"She was just frozen, I just grabbed her and got out."

Mr Kinley's partner Emma Avery said the moments waiting for her partner to emerge from the house were terrifying, but she was not surprised by his actions.

"He is really brave. He would have done it for anyone," she said.

When firefighters arrived just after 7pm, the flames had engulfed the home, Gympie fire station officer Adrian Bond said.

 

February 19, 2020: The aftermath of a house fire on Stewart Terrace, Gympie which left three people hospitalised.
February 19, 2020: The aftermath of a house fire on Stewart Terrace, Gympie which left three people hospitalised.

The fire was put out in about 10 minutes, but the house was majorly damaged inside, he said.

"This could have been a fatality if it wasn't for the actions of the good Samaritan," he said.

"The whole house was at ignition temperature- it was extremely hot inside."

Paramedics took the woman, in her 20s, and children to Gympie Hospital where the mother was treated for smoke inhalation and the children were examined as a precaution.

Mr Kinley, who came out unscathed and was back at work at Widgee Engineering today, said he was elated he saved the young girl.

 

The fire bursts through the window at Stewart Terrace in Gympie on Tuesday night.
The fire bursts through the window at Stewart Terrace in Gympie on Tuesday night.

 

Jacob Kinley
Jacob Kinley

 

"I've never felt anything like it - it's a good feeling knowing that you've saved someone's life."

Mr Bond said people who are hearing-impaired should be aware there are hearing-impaired smoke alarms available with vibrating or visual options.

Fire specialists were yesterday investigating the property.

The fire is the second house fire in Gympie in two days, with investigations ongoing into a fire that destroyed a home in Blake St on Sunday night.

Gympie Times

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