Aussie woman's warning after neighbour's fire left her homeless: 'Be prepared'

A woman has shared how she managed to escape a terrifying Queensland house fire ignited by an exploding e-bike battery.

A young Queensland woman has shared life-saving advice after a fire erupted next door and engulfed her own home in flames within minutes.

Speaking to Yahoo News on Wednesday, Jamison said she was finally ready to talk about the traumatic incident that left her and partner Michael homeless in February and "needing to rebuild their entire lives".

"You always hear people say 'you never think it will happen to you', but you don’t have control over that and the least you can do is try to be prepared," Jamison said.

Queensland couple lose home and belongings in house fire.
Queensland couple Jamison and Michael narrowly escaped a house fire with their two cats. Source: Supplied.

And preparation helped the musician couple Jamison and Michael to escape their burning home in the early hours of what seemed like a usual February night, until they were startled by a bang that came from their neighbours’ place.

The couple shared a wall with their neighbours and hearing noises from the other side was not unusual. Jamison told Yahoo, had it not been for one of their cat’s making an "unusual, low growl" following the bang, the two would have stayed in bed. Instead they got up to investigate.

Garage next door explodes as couple flee

After seeing smoke outside their home, Jamison screamed to her partner that they needed to leave their home immediately.

Though panic had set in, the pair grabbed their two, terrified cats who were "both leash and harness trained," for this very reason, then ran to their car in the garage and, "full of adrenaline" got ready to reverse out and drive. As Michael opened the garage door, flames began coming through.

Jamison has finally opened up about the fire that cost her her home. Source: TikTok/ ACA
Jamison has finally opened up about the fire that cost her her home. Source: TikTok/ ACA

They reversed out through the fire and within seconds the neighbours adjoining front door and garage exploded as the fire took hold of both properties. Fire crew later told the couple that the explosion "missed their car by centimetres".

Fire safety plans save lives

Jamison said she is glad she had a fire evacuation plan in place with every minute proving crucial to escape the burning property with their lives. Recalling the traumatic experience she has shared a TikTok video encouraging others to make a fire plan.

"Growing up in a small town, there was a lot of education on bushfires and fire safety," she told Yahoo.

This meant that once she had her own home, Jamison made an "emergency kit packed with important documentation, photos, passports," and "came up with a plan for emergencies".

"Knowing your exits and where you keep your keys is so important," she continued.

Battery from e-bike caused the fire

Jamison's neighbour Fran Higgins told A Current Affair her teenage son had bought an e-bike on Facebook Marketplace which caught fire while it was charging. The e-bike had a lithium-ion battery, and when faulty or over-charged these batteries are known to pose a serious safety risk, as seen in a number of cases in recent years.

A house in Sydney's east burnt down in March when an e-bike exploded in the garage, forcing one man to jump from the second-storey balcony to narrowly escape.

Increased use of products with lithium-ion batteries

Mobile phones, laptops, and smart watches all use lithium-ion batteries, as do e-scooters and e-bikes. Fire and Rescue NSW says recent increased usage of these products is linked to increased incidents of fires caused by their batteries.

Statistics from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) in Western Australia released in July, 2023 state that fires caused by this type of battery have increased by over 85 per cent since 2020 in WA alone.

On Monday, in a car park at Sydney's airport, five cars were destroyed by a damaged lithium-ion battery that had been removed from a luxury electric vehicle and caught fire.

Speaking with Yahoo on Tuesday, Fire and Safety Rescue NSW said that although electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries like e-bikes and other products, the ones found in vehicles are of a "really high standard" and are generally safe when "used the way they are supposed to."

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