Police say a man found dead inside a shipping container in Townsville had been “screaming for help” before a fire engulfed his home inside an industrial estate.
The 46-year-old’s body was found when police and fire fighters were called to reports of a caravan and shipping container on fire at Mount Louisa on Thursday night.
“Witnesses initially had heard a male person screaming for help,” Detective Inspector Jason Shepherd said.
“One of the witnesses did try to enter the property to provide assistance but there were a number of guard dogs on the property who stopped the witness from getting in.
“When the fire was extinguished [emergency services] found a deceased person inside a shipping container on the property.”
Police have not established if the fire was intentionally lit.
“We have to keep an open mind, it could be accidental, it could be intentional, it’s too early to tell at this stage,” Shepherd said.
Police said the man had been residing on the property as a care taker and had been living in the shipping container and caravan.
The shipping container was the most impacted by the large blaze.
“He was found at the rear of the container, so whether he was in that position, or whether the fire created a situation where he couldn’t get out of the shipping container we’re unable to say,” Inspector Shepherd said.
“It’s difficult to say if he could get out but he was at the opposite end to the opening.
“Because the caravan was so close its also been impacted by the fire.”
Witnesses reported hearing a bang or explosion when the fire broke out.
Inspector Shepherd said the scene was confronting for witnesses and crews involved.
“Unfortunately we do have a number of incidents and the crew that attend do get emotionally involved as well because they are confronted with quite horrific scenes, as are the witnesses as well.”
Investigations are continuing to identify how the fire was started.