Body found in Woodburn fire

THE VICTIM of a fatal house fire on Wednesday may have made a desperate triple 0 call to report her home being engulfed by flames before she died.

The circumstances surrounding the death of the 40-year-old woman in a house fire on Nortons Road at The Gap, six kilometres south of Woodburn, began to unfold yesterday as emergency services started to piece together the cause of the blaze.

About 11.40pm on Wednesday, Rural Fire Service crews from Woodburn, Wardell and Wyrallah responded to the fire, located a stone’s throw from the southbound lane of the Pacific Highway.

It is understood the house’s only occupant called triple 0 to report the fire while she attempted to make her escape.

The blaze, which took RFS crews several hours to extinguish, was still smouldering at lunchtime yesterday.

Emergency services located the woman’s body early yesterday morning, in what was believed to be a bedroom of the house.

There were initially grave concerns for the woman’s 75-year-old mother, who police thought also resided in the house.

However, she was located at an aged-care home in the area just before lunch yesterday.

A crime scene was established around the weatherboard and iron-roof home, which contained asbestos.

Witnesses reported seeing flames towering above the structure and lighting up the surrounding area like it was daylight.

Richmond Local Area Command acting Inspector Jackie Lilley said the fire was very intense.

“There is extensive damage to the large property,” she said.

“The investigation will take a long time to look at because of the size of the structure.

“The whole place was destroyed.”

Fire investigators and forensic police officers were at the scene yesterday but could not gain full access to the house because it was still too hot.

Surrounding neighbours drove in and out of the dirt road street, deflecting queries from the media.

Police are not treating the fire as suspicious and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

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