‘Very proud’: How crews saved young child from house fire

WITH a young child unaccounted for and flames beginning to spread through a Norman Gardens home, two Rockhampton Police officers put their lives on the line and faced danger head-on.

The female officers are being hailed as heroes after jumping into action to help save a young child from a burning home in Bramble Street in the early hours of Wednesday.

Witnesses have described the actions of Senior Constable Nyree Gilluley and Constable Dziewicki as 'heroic' after the pair helped rescue an 18-month-old child, from the home.

A further five children and one adult were also in the home at the time of the fire.

Five of the children were taken to Rockhampton Hospital for precautionary measures for potential smoke inhalation, where they remained in a stable condition late yesterday.

The sixth child and two adults were assessed and treated at the scene.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Area Commander for Rockhampton Brad Stockwell revealed just how close one child came to losing their life in the blaze, which broke out just after midnight.

"Information forward to our crews en route was afforded to the crews that a person was still missing or unaccounted for, as one of the occupiers of the residence," Mr Stockwell said.

"On arrival, the crews faced a lowset residential dwelling with smoke issuing from the front and rear of the building. There were seven people on-site, one adult and six children and one of the children was unaccounted for.

"The commitment and dedication of the crews went into action and they successfully found an 18-month-old child and removed them safely from the building. The child was conscious and breathing when the crews brought them out and they were transported to Rockhampton Hospital.

"I'd also like to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the Queensland Police Service officers who attempted on several occasions to make entry into the building but were forced back due to the flames and the smoke.

"They got into the building on numerous occasions and started searching some of the rooms.

"Information provided by the parent or guardian at that stage identified the location of the child but due to the fact that the room that the child was sleeping in was directly adjacent the room that was on fire, was very difficult for the police to make entry without relevant firefighting equipment and or personal protective clothing.

"The determination of crews prevented a tragic incident from taking place.

"The combined efforts of QFES and QPS brought a successful resolution to that incident and we didn't have any tragic outcome.

"We had two firefighters who made entry into the structure to initiate a primary search for the person that was unaccounted for and to contain fire to its area of origin, being the rear bedroom.

"They successfully found the child in a bedroom directly adjacent the room that was on fire.

The 18 month year old was asleep at the time when crews went in.

"From the time of call till the time that they removed the child, was about seven minutes. The child was then transported to Rockhampton Hospital. They were alive and well, conscious and breathing, once removed to safety.

"We're very proud of our crews, very proud of the actions that they took in regards to saving the life of a child."

Mr Stockwell said a joint investigation with QPS and QFES was taking place to ascertain the area and cause of the fire. While the investigation is ongoing, Mr Stockwell said the fire appeared to have started in a main bedroom at the rear of the structure.

"The preliminary findings are leaning towards an accidental ignition with the possibility of a child either playing with a lighter or matches," he said.

"We should have a determination tomorrow (Thursday) as to the area and or the cause of the fire once evidence and consultation has been made."

William Booth-Hill, who lives in the home with his young family, shared on social media that everyone was okay, including the 18-month-old.

While Snr Const. Gilluley and Const. Dziewicki were not able to comment on their actions yesterday due to the circumstances surrounding the fire, MyPolice Rockhampton recognised them.

"We recognise and thank the heroic actions of our police women Senior Constable Gilluley and Constable Dziewicki. They rescued residents in a house fire in Bramble St overnight including an 18-month-old baby," a post on the MyPolice Rockhampton Facebook page read.