Australia How this young family survived a fire-bombing

09:53  13 november  2017
09:53  13 november  2017 Source:

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A Brisbane father has told 9NEWS reporter Rob Morrison how his young family survived their home being fire-bombed by three anonymous men:

The day after Halloween, the Gould family home was fire-bombed by three anonymous men.

A 44-year-old father was burnt in the explosion. His full account of what happened that night has never been heard. Until now.

Andrew Gould opens the door to the children's playroom, just like he did the night of the attack.

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The fire now burns in his eyes. The red, peeling skin atop his head and nose is as raw as the disbelief and anger pouring from his hands. They're trembling. They're burnt.

"There was little fires through the whole room went and got some water from the kitchen-" Andrew says.

He pauses. The fire in his eyes is gone. He repeats the move he made last night. The move he wish he hadn't made. The move that almost killed him. His imaginary bucket is shaking.

"I just stood here and threw the water and that's when it just erupted. It was just like a fireball, a fireball. And that's when it got me on the head, and when I put my hand up, my hair was on fire," he says.

Nearby are low, young voices. Past the family photos in the lounge room, past the dining table with six chairs, three girls in school uniforms sit cross-legged in the cool paved yard. His daughters.

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Andrew continues: "That's when it became very real."

He loves Halloween. Outside his brick four-bedroom home, white cotton spider webs adorn the well-kept green hedges. Canned-cackling ghosts swing from their strings in the breeze, and orange jack-o-lanterns glow like fire. Decorations for children, put there by Andrew.

Also inside the home when the fire-bombers struck were Andrew's sister, who is 35 weeks pregnant; his young niece and nephew, aged 14 and 11; and his 67-year-old mother.

All were asleep when the glass shattered, after the three men arrived at 10.15pm on Wednesday, November 1.

First, a pot plant went through the window. Second, two cans of petrol. Third came the blow torch.

One-two-three, a simple recipe meant to horrify and, who knows, possibly kill.

Andrew can still taste the terrifying cocktail in the air: one part burnt toys, two parts smoke-stained peeling paint, one part fear.

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"I'm shaking in my boots. You don't know what to do now. Where to go? We've got to hide. It wasn't just a fire that started; someone was trying to kill us," he says.

Andrew loves his kitchen, the one he's standing in now with the broken fly screen that he punched out trying to get the garden hose inside.

He cooks here with his sister sometimes. He loves her, too. No matter what. Through the firearm and drug-trafficking offences, counterfeit money charges, and the upcoming court cases – no matter what.

He calls the people in her life "unsavoury characters".

"Bad people, who do bad things," Andrew says. Police call them bikies and dangerous criminals. This was a targeted attack.

"Honestly has anyone done anything that bad that you got to kill their whole family? Wipe out their whole family?" Andrew asks.

"I don't think, I personally don't think anyone in my family has done anything to warrant that or deserve that, definitely not deserve it."

His eye-fire is back. He loves his family.

"If I sit there and think about it for two seconds it makes me cry," Andrew says.

"That's why I had to put the fire out. I wasn't one-hundred percent sure everyone was out yet when I was putting out the fire out.

"So, I knew I had to put the fire out. So the fire had to go...We don't have much money, but we've got lots of memories and I can't afford to lose that."

His mother's bedroom is directly above the fire-bombed playroom.

Flames licked the ceiling – her bedroom floor.

Everyone made it out of the house, with Andrew the last to leave.

"I just collapsed. I couldn't breathe. I guess, just stressing out. It was a lot to take in," he says.

The three men seen running down the street remain at large.

Andrew will take the Halloween decorations with him, when he moves house.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Dangerous fire day ahead of cool change and thunderstorms .
The hot spell in Australia’s south-east is about to come to an end, but first we have a dangerous fire day ahead of us. Tomorrow there's an elevated fire threat as northerly winds freshen and parts of South Australia approach temperatures of 40 degrees, while Victoria's Mallee district heads for the high 30s.A Total Fire Ban is in place for the South Australian districts of the Lower South East, Murraylands, Mount Lofty Ranges, Mid North, Flinders and Adelaide Metropolitan area.And in Victoria, the Mallee district is under a Total Fire Ban with Mildura set to reach 38 degrees.


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