'Dinner saved us:' Couple dodge death as historic home burns
AN HOUR was the difference between life and death for a Sunshine Coast couple whose historic home and more than a century of memories went up in flames.
Landsborough residents Rachelle Headley and Shane Herbert were "numb", drained from crying and setting up camp in their backyard, as they came to terms with the loss of their forever home.
The pair, who are both paramedics, returned from dinner about 8.30pm Saturday night to find the Maleny St house filled with smoke.
Within minutes it was gone.
"If it had happened an hour later when we were asleep, we would have been killed," Ms Headley said.
Firefighters fought the blaze until about 1.30am Sunday. They were forced to use a chainsaw to gain access to hot spots in the home, but it was significantly damaged.
The historic building, built in the late 1880s, was the original police station and courthouse in the hinterland town, originally called Mellum Creek.
Ms Headley, who bought the home with her partner 18 months ago, engrossed herself in the building's history and was in the process of researching the property before it burnt down.
"It had been a beautiful home for a lot of people over the years, but this is it's last chapter," she said.
Queensland Police Service confirmed the fire was not suspicious and was believed to have started from a charging laptop in the loungeroom.
Ms Headley said many people in the community had generously offered their possessions and even money, with some strangers dropping off envelopes of cash.
"We are struggling with the generosity of people, but it has been so kind," Ms Headley said.
"We are running on nothing and have barely slept."
While it was still early days, Ms Headley had every intention to rebuild her little cottage.
"I would love to rebuild … it's just too beautiful," she said.
"We'd love to rebuild something like what is here and hang some photos of the original home.
"There's been plenty of articles about this little house so it's only fitting it have one last one."