DEVESTATION: What was left of Coral and Brad Krahe's Happy Valley home after Friday nights fire.
DEVESTATION: What was left of Coral and Brad Krahe's Happy Valley home after Friday nights fire. Contributed

'Only thing left was a garden fork' Couple's home destroyed

THE only thing left was a garden fork.

That was the site that welcomed Coral Krahe when she returned to her Stanthorpe home on McLeod Ct on Saturday after an intense bushfire ripped through the property on Friday night.

The house, the sheds - everything was gone.

"On Friday afternoon my next door neighbour told me we'd all been told to evacuate," Mrs Krahe said.

"I could see the fire in the distance and it was just getting bigger and bigger.

Bushfire crosses road near Stanthorpe McDonalds: WARNING: Language Credit: Marie Faint
Bushfire crosses road near Stanthorpe McDonalds: WARNING: Language Credit: Marie Faint

"I had to think 'what will I take?'. I got the dogs and the cats and put them all in cages. I thought it wouldn't be long until we were back."

Coral and husband Brad evacuated with all their dogs and cats, except for one.

"The fire got worse and worse, and with the wind change, in the end it took the house and everything out," Mrs Krahe said.

"Only a garden fork was left. My husband's Harley, photos, all the plants are dead. It's just a whole pile of rubbish."

A woman offered her parents' home to the couple, where they have been staying since the fire.

"People have offered us everything, food, clothes, stuff like that," Mrs Krahe said.

"The community has just been fantastic. Our two little dogs are at the vet being minded by them, all my cats are at the pound being minded by them.

"One of my cats, Muffin, we can't find him at the moment. Hopefully someone will find him soon. Houses can be rebuilt, but this cat, he's had a hard life and I just hope he's not having a harder one."

The Krahes' daughter Wendy took to Facebook to thank the community for the generosity they had given her parents following the fire.

"Thank you to you amazing Stanthorpe residents that have helped my mum and step dad Coral Krahe and Brad Krahe after they lost their home in the fires last night on McLeod Ct," she wrote.

"The generosity of your community and kindness brings tears to our eyes. I just want to give (mum) a huge hug and have a big cry with her."

The Krahes' home was one of several destroyed following the fires on Friday night.

Many more homes and businesses were damaged in the blaze.

The University of Southern Queensland's Queensland College of Wine Tourism had a number gardens and equipment destroyed, but its main buildings were spared.

College CEO Peter O'Reilly, whose family owns the O'Reilly Rainforest Retreat in Lamington National Park, which at time of print also had a large fire heading its way, said the fire "practically went over the top" of the college.

"We were very, very lucky," he said.

"We had mowed a lot of the grass just a few days before, so there was not enough fuel load there I suppose.

"The design of the buildings was a positive for us, as a lot of the external cladding is corrugated iron. We just hope people will continue to visit Stanthorpe, to come down for a weekend and visit our wineries, eat in our restaurants. It's a great way for people to show support for the community."

-TOBI LOFTUS