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A New Zealand man has been badly burned as he escaped his blazing Gold Coast home with his 3-year-old son.
Adam Bell, 28, suffered third-degree burns to 40 per cent of his body as he helped his son Kaiden out of the family home, shortly before it was engulfed in flames.
His wife, Kayla, found him outside the burning home. There was no time to take anything from the building and the family of five lost all their possessions in the Sunday fire.
"Kayla rang us just before 6pm and told us Adam had been burned and the house was on fire, so we just rushed straight out there and he was on his way to the hospital in the ambulance," family friend Sarah Maclean said. "She's pretty distraught.
"Even now, I think it's still very surreal to them and doesn't feel like it actually happened."
The West Auckland couple moved to the Gold Coast about 10 years ago.
Mrs Bell, 27, was out with their 6-month-old daughter Emily and eldest son Nathan, 8, at the time of the fire. When she returned to the home she found Mr Bell outside with Kaiden, who was not hurt.
Mr Bell was taken to Brisbane Hospital and has already had one operation. Mrs Maclean said he faced at least a six-week hospital stay.
Mrs Bell, still too shaken to speak to the Herald yesterday, is staying near the hospital with their children.
Investigators are yet to determine the cause of the fire. The Bells had moved into the rental property only six weeks ago.
"They've lost everything, they just had what they were wearing," said Mrs Maclean. "Kayla's mum Annie ... there was a self-contained unit downstairs and she was living there as well. So they have all lost everything.
"The homeowners had insurance on the house, but because [the Bells] only moved in not long ago they hadn't organised their contents insurance yet," Mrs Maclean said.
Mr Bell had recently set up his own scaffolding business, and that would also be affected by his recovery.
Mrs Maclean has set up a Givealittle.co.nz page so friends and family back in New Zealand can help the family back on their feet. While that would be a long struggle, she said, the fire could have taken a worse toll. "They may have lost everything, but they still have each other."
How to help: visit givealittle.co.nz/cause/AdamandKayla