Australia Zoo couple loses everything in house blaze
NEWLY engaged Australia Zoo workers have lost almost everything after a fire destroyed their home over the weekend.
Three weeks ago tiger keeper Ethan Kimmince pulled off the perfect proposal to his long-term girlfriend.
He popped the question to vet nurse Eloise Costantini in front of delighted crowds, with the whole thing caught on camera.
But just as the happy couple were getting ready to plan their big day, they lost almost everything.
On Saturday night a fire tore through the couple's Caloundra West home, leaving them with little more than the clothes on their backs.
An electrical fault in one of the bedrooms caused the fire, and by the time Mr Kimmince was woken by the smoke alarm it was too big to fight himself.
"The whole house went up in a few minutes," Mr Kimmince said.
He was home alone and managed to get himself and their two dogs out safely. But unfortunately, the couple lost their beloved cat.
"I couldn't find her, I didn't know where she went ... so that's the worst thing of the whole situation," he said.
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service received a call just after 11.20pm, but by the time firefighters arrived, the brick home was "well involved".
The home was badly damaged, with the back section of the roof burned out and black smoke marks out the front door.
Now the couple are staying with family while they try to piece their lives back together.
Mr Kimmince said they were overwhelmed from the amount of support they've been shown by friends, family and even strangers. They've even been contacted by a local celebrant offering to marry them for free.
"Even people we don't know have been helping out so that's amazing," he said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the "passionate conservationists" through the difficult time.
It's already reached almost $9000 of its $10,000 goal in just 24 hours.
"We hate asking for help, but we kind of do need it," Mr Kimmince said.
He's now pleading with people to remember to check their smoke alarms and said if there were more throughout the house he might have had more time to stop the fire from spreading.
"The smoke alarm definitely saved my life, if it wasn't for them I just wouldn't have woken up," he said.
"The smoke just would have killed me."
Anyone wishing to donate to the couple can visit www.gofundme.com/ethan-and-eloise-postfire-fund.