Residents sprayed with ember rain as 'deliberately lit' bushfire raged
The first moments of panicked residents scrambling to save their homes from the intense Peregian Beach bushfire have been revealed in fresh video that captured the fear on the frontline.
On Koel Circuit in Peregian Springs, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, home owners were seen in CCTV vision running to pick up hoses and buckets of water filled from wheelie bins while embers sprayed them from above.
"This massive ember rain was raining down on our house (and)… on the street," resident Mike Dekker told 9News.
Two teenagers – a fourteen-year-old boy and a fifteen-year-old girl – were charged with allegedly deliberately lighting fires that led to the inferno that has devastated the Peregian Beach area.
Mr Dekker is just one resident of an enraged community who has been left to today survey the damages caused by the blaze, and also claims he spotted two teens trying to light fires earlier.
"People could have died – animals did die. I said (to the teenagers), 'I don't ever want to see you again making fires in these bushes'," he said.
"I literally told them, there's people with young babies here, people that have spent a lot of money on houses."
Queensland Police today confirmed authorities are working with the families of the teenagers who have been charged.
The pair are not the only alleged firebugs police are dealing with, according to Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.
"We have charged two adults and 13 juveniles have been dealt with," she told reporters today.
"I know there's angry people – I can understand that."
The whirlwind of community anger over the allegedly deliberately lit fires is now being directed towards Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who has been criticised for leaving the country during the emergency.
Ms Palaszczuk returned home from a trip to Switzerland to meet with an International Olympic Committee delegation and has now toured the aftermath of the bushfires and kickstarted an appeal to help affected families with a $100,000 pledge.
"When I left here, I was thoroughly briefed – the communities were calm. I did not know people were going to light illegal bushfires," she said today.
In response to the outburst of community anger, Comm Carroll today urged residents against becoming vigilantes against firebugs and pleaded for people to leave the matter to police.
Meanwhile in Beechmont, west of the Gold Coast, some residents today returned to their homes to survey the extent of the damages at the epicentre of the bushfire crisis.
Eight of the 11 homes that were destroyed by the blaze in the region are located on Timbarra Drive, where residents were given just minutes to collect possessions and evacuate.
Resident Lisa Groom today told 9News her house was saved by firefighters on two separate occasions as the fire passed over the town.
"It does still feel like Armageddon, and I think that's the sad part," she said.
Scott Pospisil is also another lucky resident who returned to find his home of 22 years still standing.
"For all I knew, it was burnt to the ground and I got up here Monday afternoon and it was still standing," he told 9News.
Waterbombing operations are still underway in the area, with fires still burning in the valley near Beechmont and many trees left completely burnt and at risk of collapsing onto properties.
Firefighting teams also remain at the scene, with some volunteers now entering their tenth-straight day of battling the blazes, however reinforcements are on the way.
"We've got about 50 crews coming in and they'll start work tomorrow," Kaye Haling from the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said.
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