By Jessica Riga
An accomplished WWII war veteran’s home has been gutted after flames engulfed his house on Sunday night, prompting a timely reminder of fire safety ahead of Winter.
Robert Jackson, 99, was pulled to safety by emergency services and neighbours after a kitchen fire quickly spread through his Salisbury home on Sunday night.
As a pilot in WWII, Mr Jackson flew out of occupied Germany and received the French government’s highest honour, the Legion of Honour, which he proudly wore in last week’s Anzac Day marches.
While fire fighters saved his historic medals, Mr Jackson’s beloved dogs Oscar and Keppy didn’t escape unscathed. One of the dogs perished during the blaze while the other is still missing.
Neighbour Dianne Kelly lives just behind Mr Jackson’s home and said the quickly spreading blaze threatened to cross into her yard.
“I raced down here and I saw all of these flames licked off the side of the house there and within seconds it was coming across into this little veranda,” says Ms Kelly.
The tight knit community is banding together to help raise funds for Mr Jackson’s uninsured home, which will need to be demolished as it’s riddled with asbestos.
“This street… everyone knows each other, they have a street party once a year at Christmas time so I’m sure they’ll get behind it and him and make sure he’s got somewhere to stay,” says neighbour Ben Sampson.
The fire has shocked the quiet Brisbane suburb, and Mr Jackson’s now homeless status is a grief reminder to practise fire safety as the cooler months approach.
8 Ways To Prevent House Fires
Winter is coming, and with temperatures across the state set to plummet, follow RACQ Insurance’s top fire prevention tips before dusting off the electric blankets and lighting candles.
1. Install smoke alarms and test their batteries regularly
2. Never leave cooking or heating equipment unattended
3. Keep flammable materials and liquids away from ovens, hot plates, heaters and heated appliances (e.g. straightening irons)
4. Use power boards with overload protection rather than double adaptors
5. Keep keys for locked doors and windows in an accessible place for evacuation
6. Ensure all electrical appliances are serviced by a qualified and licensed tradesperson
7. Do not smoke or use open flames near gas
8. Clean the lint out of your dryer and let it cool down between cycles