An ambulance took almost half an hour to attend the Sunshine Coast house fire in which four people died and celebrity chef Matt Golinski received terrible burns.
Fire crews found the home at Jacaranda Place, Tewantin, engulfed in flames. Neighbours reported Golinski emerged from the fire screaming, "My family, my family" in agony over the loss of his wife Rachel and their daughters Starlia, 13, and 12-year-old twins Sage and Willow.
Golinski was taken to Nambour Hospital with severe burns. He was later airlifted to Royal Brisbane Hospital, where he remains in a critical but stable condition.
The investigation into the cause of the blaze continues, but police say their preliminary information suggests that there is nothing suspicious about the fire.
Fire investigators are reportedly examining Christmas lights and candles as possible causes of the blaze.
The Courier-Mail reported it took 27 minutes for an ambulance to attend the blaze, even though there were three ambulance stations within a 15-minute drive of the address.
The closest, Tewantin ambulance station, was just two minutes away.
A Department of Community Safety spokeswoman told the newspaper that Queensland Ambulance Service had experienced "high operational volumes" at the time.
She said three QAS units in the area could not attend the Tewantin job as they were responding to other cases.
The first ambulance to respond was from Maroochydore, with the official log showing it arrived at 3.59am - 27 minutes after the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service notified the QAS at 3.32am.
Police said the first emergency call was logged at 3.31am and officers arrived at the scene at 3.47am. A fire unit was first to arrive, at 3.41am.
Sunshine Coast residents stunned by the house-fire tragedy gathered yesterday to pray for Golinski and remember his family.
The Rev Mark Calder, rector of the Anglican Church of Noosa, said counselling was offered to residents.
A regular contributor to the Channel Ten show Ready Steady Cook, Golinski runs the catering company The Rolling Dolmade.