Miles community mourns house fire victims
A SMALL western Queensland town is in mourning after two beloved residents were killed in a house fire.
Tracy Thrupp, 47, and David Shaw, 46, were inside their home on Lynagh St, Miles, when a fire tore through the single-storey wooden home before 4.30am Saturday.
The pair had been organising an 80th birthday party for David's father, set to be held yesterday.
Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Ray Brown said the entire Miles community had felt the loss and was rallying together.
"He (David) was an only child … it's a very sad time," Cr Brown said.
"It's a very sad loss and there's a feeling of total emptiness in the community at the moment.
"The thoughts of the entire town are with the family right now."
Cr Brown said no-one had been left untouched by the tragedy.
The fire broke out in the home about 4.30am, and a neighbour said the flames spread quickly through the wooden structure.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services fought to contain the blaze to no avail.
A neighbour said the fire was unstoppable and quickly took hold of the structure.
It is believed the house was not fitted with working smoke alarms.
QFES Inspector Warren Buckley said fire crews from Miles and Chinchilla fought to bring the blaze under control for more than an hour, and saved it from spreading to nearby residences.
Insp. Buckley said the house collapsed and was destroyed in the fire, and investigators were initially prohibited from entering the scene due to the smouldering remains of the structure.
Cr Brown said a number of council employees who also volunteer in the fire service were emotionally affected by the fire.
"A number of council staff are on the brigade and I certainly feel for them too, particularly one of the lead fire officers," he said.
"He told me the scene was very sad.
"We've gone through floods and fires and everything else in the past but we can always rebuild.
"But when there's a loss of life that's something that touches everybody out here, and it certainly has left a feeling of emptiness."
Investigations into the cause of the fire are continuing but it does not appear to have been deliberately lit.
Police maintained a crime scene around the area yesterday.