Family and friends are mourning the loss of a young Queensland mum and her friend who died when the caravan they were in went up in flames as they slept.
Emergency services were called to a rural property in Upper Brookfield, west of Brisbane, at about 4.15am on Saturday where they found the caravan in flames, before eventually locating the bodies of Jane Strong, 26, and Eli Johnson, 22, inside.
Ms Strong’s partner Carl Weiss also suffered burns to his hands that police said were “consistent to trying to escape the fire or potentially alert people to the fire” and was taken to hospital where he remains.
Tributes flow for ‘amazing’ young mum and friend
The pair were planning a wedding and welcomed a baby girl last year who was reportedly sleeping in a nearby house. The 26-year-old mum is being remembered as an “amazing” person who was “taken too soon”.
“I can’t believe this my heart is broken such a beautiful person,” one friend said on Facebook. “This is devastating,” another wrote.
One friend, Ryan, wrote: “R.I.P Janey, always remember the times together we had, me and Bryson will never forget the times we shared together being best friends for years. Sorry didn’t get to see you one last time.”
Another friend, Gemma, told 7News that Ms Strong was “always kind and understanding”. “Now I’ve lost that person”.
Gemma, who was supposed to be Ms Strong’s maid of honour at her upcoming wedding said it’s “shattering to think” she’s no longer here.
The father of Eli Johnson, a friend of Ms Strong’s, said he felt “lost” after losing his only son in the tragedy.
“When you’re walking around, you see things that he does here all the time and it just reminds you of him,” he told the publication.
Caravan ‘completely destroyed’ by fire, police say
Police are still trying to piece together how the blaze broke out in the caravan which was “completely destroyed”.
Brisbane region Inspector Karl Hahne said a group of adults were staying at the property ahead of the Brookfield Show — a popular annual event — when the fire erupted. He described the property as a series of structures including sheds and shipping containers.
“Obviously some of them witnessed the fire so it’s been quite traumatic but we are systematically going through, speaking to those people, getting their versions to understand what occurred in the early hours of this morning,” Mr Hahne told Nine News. Investigators spoke with Mr Weiss at the hospital on Sunday to help determine what happened.
Community ‘shocked’ by tragedy
Brookfield Show Society president Dan Petrie told the ABC on Sunday that the community was in “big shock” after hearing about the fatal fire. “The community is, by its nature, quite tight-knit,” he said.
Another resident told the ABC that everyone is “quite saddened by it all”. “You could tell, around the community it was just a lot more quiet,” she said.
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