A young Queensland family have been left reeling from the loss of their home as multiple bushfires continue to sweep through the state’s south.
Jasmine Monkman, fiancé Brock Atkinson and their eight children were visiting family when they were told their Millmerran home on the Darling Downs was on fire.
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They raced back only to find their home completely “up in flames.”
“Absolute devastation,” Monkman told 7NEWS.
“There was nothing we could do but watch and wait for the firies to show up and do what they could do and help us.”
Monkman said that they lost family heirlooms, antiques, children’s photos and many other loved family possessions collected over a lifetime.
Jasmine Monkman, fiancé Brock Atkinson and their eight children we’re visiting family when they were told their home was on fire. Credit: 7NEWS
“You put this time and energy and effort into building and adding to your forever home and to see it all go up in smoke and so quickly — it’s heartbreaking, we lost so much in the course of only a few hours,” Monkman said.
“It’s devastating to lose so much but at the end of the day at least we have each other and nobody was seriously hurt and that’s all we can be thankful for.
“It’s all physical stuff. We can replace it, as long as we’re all safe and happy and healthy — that’s the most important thing.”
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told media on Tuesday that 49 people were in evacuation centres with another five taken to other accommodation.
Authorities have confirmed at least five homes have been destroyed in Tara and one so far in Millmerran, with fears that number is likely to grow.
The premier also extended contracts for more than a dozen aerial firefighters beyond the usual late November finish, with a protracted fire season expected.
She said waterbombing aircraft had already conducted in excess of 6000 drops.
What remains of the family of ten’s home in Millmerran. Credit: 7NEWSOne of the houses destroyed in the Millmerran bushfire that swept through on Monday afternoon. Credit: 7NEWS
Residents at Millmerran Woods, Millmerran Downs and Cypress Gardens have been told it is still not safe to return to their homes.
Monkman and Atkinson said their eight children were still shaken up after spending the night at an evacuation centre with other families sheltering from the fires. Seventeen of the people at the evacuation centre were children.
“I can image a few people after the children went to sleep, myself included, had a bit of a breakdown and a cry and let those emotions out that I’d been keeping in to keep strong for my children,” Monkman said.
“It was quite sombre (at the centre), relatively calm compared to what you would imagine — there were a lot of young children, everyone was trying to keep the children calm.
“It is what it is.
“Family is more important than anything else.”
The fire that destroyed Atkinson and Monkman’s home was one of 50 blazes that are currently being monitored across Queensland.
Monkman and Atkinson, who are due to be married shortly, have decided to go ahead with the wedding so they can “look forward to something at the end of all this devastation”.
“We thank the firies that are still out there putting themselves at risk trying to help other people,” Monkman said.
“We’re hoping everyone can get support and rebuild from this and hopefully come back stronger.”
– With AAP
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