January 19, 2022
The former QCWA Hostel in Kingaroy – currently being used as crisis accommodation for young people – was gutted by fire early on Wednesday morning.
South Burnett CTC CEO Nina Temperton said three young people and a support worker were in the building when the fire alarms went off.
All escaped unscathed.
“When the alarm went off about 6:30am, the support worker had everybody outside and safe before investigating further and ringing Triple 0,” Mrs Temperton said.
“It was excellent work and our staff training really paid off.”
Mrs Temperton said alternative accommodation had been found for the three youths so they would have “a roof over their heads” on Wednesday night.
“We are very upset, not just because we had a fire but because the building belongs to the CWA and was an historic building in Kingaroy.”
Firefighters were called to the brick building, at 103 Kingaroy Street, just before 7:00am.
They found it well alight, with flames shooting into the sky through the roof.
After extinguishing the blaze they remained on scene until about 10:30am, dampening down the embers.
Mrs Temperton said she had been told the fire was started accidentally and police were not treating it as suspicious.
The building – which was being leased from the QCWA by South Burnett CTC – has served as youth accommodation for about 26 years.
CTC took over the operation from the South Burnett Area Youth Service (SBAYS) in 2001.
The building dates to the early 1950s.
Local QCWA branches raised funds to build a “mothers’ hostel” to provide accommodation for visitors from outlying properties.
Kingaroy QCWA vice-president Lois Thurecht told southburnett.com.au the loss had been “a real blow”.
She said the building had served the community well for many years.
“We have provided accommodation for so many people. Mothers, high school students … it’s just hard to comprehend,” she said.
“It’s always been for accommodation.”
Mrs Thurecht said it was too early to say what would happen now to the gutted building.
A statement from South Burnett CTC acknowledged the work of emergency services.
“We would like to acknowledge the amazing response from our local fire firefighters in containing the fire and also the police for their timely assistance,” the statement read.
“We have been overwhelmed with the response from our community with well wishes and offers of support and assistance. We can’t thank everyone enough and once again are reminded of the great community that we live in and are proud to support.”