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Family loses 30 pet snakes as fire consumes home

A LONE Lego man was left in the charred remains of Daniel, Tayha and Chaise Bowker's Cowan Cres home in Emerald.

In the early hours of last Wednesday, the Bowkers lost everything they owned in the property which was not protected by a working smoke alarm.

Daniel, who was at work at Daunia Mine at the time of the fire, said his partner Tayha and son Chaise were lucky to escape.

"My partner was taking the kitten out of the room when she saw smoke coming out of the snake room," he said.

"She ran back into the bedroom to grab our five-year-old son, before going outside and calling 000.

"By the time the firies arrived the house was engulfed and, sadly, nothing could be retrieved, however no one was injured and both dogs were rescued."

To add insult to incredible injury, Daniel said the family was not insured.

"We are fairly gutted," he said. "We didn't have contents insurance either, so that was a lesson learnt.

"The loss of over 30 snakes was brutal, there was some nice (ones) including albinos, platinums and a scrub python.

"I also collected a lot of video game collectibles, which sadly now can't be replaced, as well as my partner's jewellery and my son's Lego."

QFES Emerald Station Officer Clive Weeks said it was a sorry reminder that landlords and tenants had responsibilities when it came to operational fire alarms.

"In this house fire the smoke alarm was not working... and had not been maintained in an operating condition," Mr Weeks said.

"At the height of the fire there were three appliances, two from Emerald and one from Capella, but by the time they arrived it was fully involved.

"The fire was really intense in one place and spread into the ceiling very quickly and mushroomed down - it was very hot, very fast."

Landlords and their property agents must ensure the smoke alarm is working and in good order within 30 days of starting a new tenancy and must replace the alarm before it reaches the end of its service life.

"If they get a call from the tenant that the alarm is not working for some reason they should have it replaced as quickly as possible," Mr Weeks said.

Legally, tenants must clean and test a smoke alarm at least once a year and are required to replace flat batteries.

Daniel wanted to thank everyone who helped by donating toys and clothes to the family.

They are now staying in Rockhampton.

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