NZ link in Brisbane fire horror

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Eleven people remain unaccounted after a fire engulfed a house in Brisbane's south. Photo / Thinkstock
Eleven people remain unaccounted after a fire engulfed a house in Brisbane's south. Photo / Thinkstock

At least six children, the youngest just three-years-old, are among 11 people killed in a horrific house fire south of Brisbane overnight, an uncle of a survivor says.

Raw scenes of grief are unfolding in Wagensveldt Street, Kingston, south of Brisbane, as the search for bodies begins.

The victims are mainly from two Pacific Island families - with relatives in New Zealand - who had shared the fibro, tin-roofed home that is now in ruins, its top storey collapsed into a blackened shell.

Two men escaped with relatively minor burns. At least one refused to leave the scene, staying to help emergency crews, who now face the terrible task of finding and recovering so many bodies.

Logan police Superintendent Noel Powers told reporters he had never seen anything like the devastation he faced in Wagensveldt Street in the early hours of the morning.

He could not confirm the age or sexes of the victims but it was clear many people had lost their lives.

"No, never in my service, never have I seen anything like this," he said.

"What is readily evident is that it's a total and utter catastrophe, a tragedy beyond all proportions."

He said the focus now was on sifting through the charred remains of the home to find the 11 presumed dead.

Supt Powers said some of the experts responding to the tragedy had helped in the aftermath of the Bali bombings, and warned that formal identification of the victims could take some time.

"It is a very methodical process. In some instances it may come down to dental identification.

"We ask the community to understand that we need to be 100 per cent sure ... we'll be here for some time."

Fire and Rescue Service Acting Chief Superintendent Peter Ryan said it was not yet clear if the house was fitted with smoke alarms.

Pastor Terry Walker said a lot of Samoan and Tongan people came to his church, so he had been asked to go to the fire scene.

"Over the next couple of weeks I guess there will be a lot of helping out with food and doing what we can, clothing, whatever we can, because they are a big family,'' he told ABC Radio.

A Samoan parishioner, May, told the ABC she would do whatever was needed for the family and would pray for them.

"It's a very strong community ... both islands, Tonga and Samoa, we're in the same family,'' she said.

"We will work together as a family.''

May said she didn't know the victims personally, but believed there were both Samoan and Tongan names among them.

"This is a black Wednesday, black morning to us, to everybody here,'' she said.

"Because the news is gradually coming up to the people, some of the people they don't know what's going on, and then when they find the news, they're in shock.

"These families, they have their families in New Zealand, in Samoa, and all the states of Australia.

"So it's very sad news ... I know our people are getting together to support and grieve together with this family.''

- AAP

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