‘We’re not lazy beer drinkers’

‘We’re not lazy beerdrinkers’

25 October 2006

published by http://townsvillebulletin.news.com.au

“It wasn’t us!”

That was the claim from Black River residents, after people were spotted drinking beers while watching firefighters battle a bushfire in the area at the weekend.

Up to 25 hectares of land was ravaged by a fire that was fanned by heavy winds in Black River on Sunday.

The Townsville Bulletin reported on Monday that property owners cracked open beers and sat back as volunteer firefighters battled to save homes from the bushfire.

But Black River residents claim it was not them – it was the people responsible for lighting the fire.

The fire was started by an out of control campfire near Black River Stadium about 10am.

Resident Mick Keane, who lives near the stadium, believed the beer drinkers were ‘leftovers’ from a Saturday night motocross at the stadium.

“They definitely weren’t neighbours, they were people who had paid to go to the motocross,” Mr Keane said.

He said many residents were angered by the suggestion they had not helped fight the fire.

“Everyone helps out everyone out here,” Mr Keane said.

“It’s not like the city where you don’t know your next door neighbour.

“We are ever ready to jump to in a crisis, and to help out.”

Saunders Beach rural firefighter Tony Homes, who helped battle the bushfire on Sunday, said he had nothing but praise for the Black River residents who helped the firefighters.

He said local firefighters would meet tonight to get to the bottom of the beer-drinking incident.

“We don’t believe people in that area would be doing that,” Mr Homes said.

He believed those responsible for lighting the fire had hung around to witness the destruction.

“I think it’s a big joke on their side, and the laughing matter’s ended up on the residents,” he said.

Those responsible for lighting the fire in the first place should be charged with arson, Mr Homes said.


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