Donna’s dog Harley watches over the wreckage of the house.
Donna’s dog Harley watches over the wreckage of the house. Katie Cameron

Another tragedy for fire victim

IT HAS been exactly four weeks since Donna A'Court's Deuchar house burnt down and she lost everything she owned.

Now she has also lost the love of her life, after her husband Tony died on Saturday.

Back in August, the Daily News reported the A'Courts ordeal of having to jump out of their bedroom window to escape the flames that destroyed their home.

Tony was chronically ill but was still active in life and was always thinking about the next projects for the property.

His death has shattered Donna, who was his wife or 23 years and his carer.

Donna's sister Elizabeth Bland has opened up about the devastating time and the generosity of the people of the Southern Downs.

"Life is just a blur at the moment," Elizabeth said.

"The community has been really good - there has been a huge response in beds and clothes.

"Donna knows there are a lot of people who she can't thank personally, who dropped off clothes and furniture.

"She wants to thank everyone who has helped her so far."

A special mention also goes to neighbours Roy and Elaine Atwood and Allora policeman Des Canning who went above and beyond to help out.

Donna and Tony were registered wildlife carers and looked after dogs, cats, donkeys, a pony, geese, chickens, injured kangaroos, possums and birds on their property.

"Tony was totally dedicated to animals and his wife," Elizabeth said.

"In the 28 years I've known him, he always referred to Donna as 'possum', and nothing was ever too much trouble for her.

"Donna had an idea in her head and Tony would make it happen.

"He was her first and only love."

All mementos including wedding rings and photos were lost in the house wreckage.

"They had lived on a wing and a prayer for the last 20 years," Elizabeth said.

"Tony relied on Donna for everything; she scrimped and saved to come up with unique ways to use what she had.

"I don't think anyone can imagine what she is going through right now."

Tony died on Saturday, the day of Donna's father's birthday, and his passing was a huge shock to Donna and their family.

"It was totally unexpected," Elizabeth said.

"It was a direct result of the fire. Tony did not have a terminal illness, but he was chronically ill.

"He went to trips to Toowoomba Hospital to be put on oxygen, but he was allowed to go home to help Donna sort out the future."

Elizabeth said Donna was finding it a struggle to care for the animals without essential whitegoods.

"The thing Donna needs right now is the bigger ticket items, like a fridge or a freezer," she said.

Donna also needs a twin tub washing machine, the only type that is water-friendly enough for the rural property.

Donna is still living at her neighbour's house, as the temporary removable home on her property does not have a septic tank connected.

"Even if there was a plumber out there or someone knew some guys who had a septic tank that could help, Donna could live back on her own property," Elizabeth said.

"Although she will not have her husband with her, she will be in her own environment.

"She comes over a minimum of three or four times a day anyway to check the animals, and again as late as 10 or 11 o'clock at night to check if the possums are OK."

If you can help out with a fridge or freezer, or if you know a tradie that would be willing to help with a septic tank, call Elizabeth on 0412 356 564.

Exciting new digital future for the South Burnett Times

Exciting new digital future for the South Burnett Times

Our new website platform will lead to faster load times, quicker coverage of...

FULL LIST: Kingaroy Magistrates Court appearances today

Premium Content FULL LIST: Kingaroy Magistrates Court appearances today

Here is a list of matters listed at Kingaroy Magistrates Court on Monday.

Wagners’ $175m project precinct on verge of collapse

Premium Content Wagners’ $175m project precinct on verge of collapse

The future a 1000-bed quarantine facility is also uncertain