Source: AAP | Published: Friday June 23

15 die in backpackers fire
Fifteen people died and a number remained missing after a fire overnight at a Queensland backpackers hostel, police said.

Fire units were called to the two-storey timber building in Childers, north-west of Maryborough, at 12.30am today.

Police earlier confirmed eight dead but said the toll had since risen to eight.

Acting Area Fire Commssioner Jeff Wright said 86 people were in the building at the time of the fire.

He said 70 people were rescued by firefighters using hydraulic platforms.

Nine were taken to hospital.

It was not yet known whether those who died were found in the burnt-out building or died in hospital.

Mr Wright said at the height of the fire, terrified residents had fled across ajoining rooftops to escape the flames.

He said the cause of the blaze was still unknown.

"At this stage it's far too early. Fire investigators are still responding," he said.

A Bundaberg resident said some backpackers told him that one of the residents had run through the building screaming for them to get out.

"There was a pair of young ladies from Scotland and the UK who was very appreciative of the fact that one of their number ran up and down the hallway alerting quite a few to the fact that there was a fire," he said.