Fire setback to family of 13

Tasmania Fire Service personnel at the scene of last night's fire in West Launceston. Picture: Mark Jesser
Tasmania Fire Service personnel at the scene of last night's fire in West Launceston. Picture: Mark Jesser

UPDATE: Tasmania Fire Service has determined that the cause of the fire was accidental.

Fire investigators and TechSafe electrical inspectors were unable to pinpoint the precise ignition point, but examined the ceiling of the master bedroom's ensuite.

The damage caused is estimated at $200,000.

ORIGINAL STORY: A FAMILY of 13 is looking for a new home  after their temporary accommodation was badly damaged by fire last night.

The family, which includes 11 children, had only moved to the state from war-torn Afghanistan five weeks ago.

They were staying in a temporary accommodation house, owned by the state government and looked after by the Migrant Resource Centre, in upper Brougham Street, West Launceston.

The Tasmania Fire Service was called the property about 6.20pm.

Launceston fire station officer Heath Bracey said the fire was well advanced when crews arrived.

``On arrival everyone had evacuated and had been accounted for,'' Mr Bracey said.

``It took some time to bring it under control due to the cathedral ceiling and the floor plan of the building.''

``It has a timber-lined ceilings in parts, so it was hard to extinguish.''

Mr Bracey said the fire started in the main bedroom, but the exact cause was still being determined.

Morgan Proffitt, of Newnham, was visiting the property next door  when neighbours knocked, worried about smoke in their house.

Ms Proffitt, along with others who were concerned, went to assist.

``When we walked in all we saw was smoke, then we started hearing cracking,'' Ms Proffitt said.

Neighbours helped get the children out of the house, and when the blaze erupted, people over the fence got out hoses to assist.

Migrant Resource Centre business manager John Ali said this was the first fire he had heard of in one of the temporary houses and  the centre was trying to find other accommodation for the family last night.

The property was kept under fire watch overnight.

A fire investigation will begin at 8.30am today.


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