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Vinnies helps those with nowhere to go after hostel fire

A Brisbane priest said a hostel fire which claimed three lives in the northern seaside suburb of Sandgate last weekend has highlighted a lack of emergency accommodation in the city.

Sandgate parish administrator Fr Patrick Stratford said the community mourned for the dead in the blaze and was concerned for the future of needy residents who escaped the inferno.

On Tuesday, police were studying the remains of three bodies found in the charred remains of the hostel, while a fourth person was still unaccounted for.

There were 24 people resident in the hostel when the fire began beneath it and quickly engulfed it.

Fr Stratford said that residents who fled the fire were taken first to the Police Citizen's Youth Club and later to the Salvation Army's Pindari Hostel in Spring Hill.

He said there was always a shortage of this kind of accommodation for needy people.

'Over the years the parish has actually put many people up at the hostel,' he said. 'Now the needy have nowhere to go.'

President of the parish St Vincent de Paul Society conference, Ron Walker, said Vincentians had had constant contact with the hostel's residents for years.

He said Fr Stratford's criticism of the lack of emergency accommodation for the needy in Brisbane was 'exactly right'.

Vinnies (QLD)

Catholic Leader

23 Aug 2002