Bridgetown locals praise fire crews’ bravery

Bridgetown locals praise fire crews’ bravery

19 January 2009

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Australia — Human stories are starting to emerge in the wake of the devastating bushfire which swept through Bridgetown over the weekend.

Jennifer McCloy emailed PerthNow to experess her thanks to the volunteers who helped save her home and express her sadness at the devastation.

Ms McCloy said the fire arrived so quickly they only just made it out just in time.

“I never want to hear anything like that again in my life,” she said of the blaze.

“The roaring of the fire coming through the bluegums that are planted far too close to all the properties along Laverty and Maslin streets, and the speed of it was so scary.

“As l was driving out my driveway l was hysterical and crying as l thought l would never see my house again, let alone my sheep.

“And now the ‘burnt’ smell is terrible.

” I just hope that they catch the person who lit it and they bring them up to explain their actions to all of us who have been affected, especially our neighbour who has lost everything.”

She said th damage to her own property is not as bad as other owners thanks to the “wonderful and special people who all did their bit “.

“A couple of them came close to not being here due to the fire surrounding them ,” she said.

“It is certainly a wake up call to us all to be prepared and to make your homes more fire safe. It has definately been for me.”

Fire crews yesterday contained the blaze, which claimed three homes near Bridgetown and ravaged 5900ha of land, as a new bushfire created concern in WA’s north.

Department of Environment and Conservation fire crews are consolidating containment lines around the 50km perimeter and mopping up. Community services are being re-established and rehabilitation of disturbed areas is currently underway.

More than 100 crew worked through the night to stay on top of the devastating blaze. Cooler weather is forecast for the next three days.

PerthNow reader and Bridgetown resident Megan Mannion praised the firefighters as heroes.

She said the fire first swept in behind the town from the Highlands estate, before thewinds changed direction and the blaze headed north towards her parents’ house. 

“They had only bought the house four weeks before and he (husband, Richard Mannion) managed to save it,” she said.

“He and all the other firefighters out there protecting our lovely town are all big heroes!” 

DEC operations officer John Tillman said the successful suppression efforts were the result of sound fire management and excellent collaboration.

“It has been a tremendous effort by everyone and in particular I thank the Fire and Emergency Services Authority, Forest Products Commission, the Shire of Bridgetown and volunteer Bush Fire Brigades,” he said.

Meanwhile, smoke from a large bushfire yesterday made driving extremely dangerous in the north of the state, near Gnaraloo Station, 200km north of Carnarvon.

FESA yesterday warned motorists to be extremely careful when driving between Carnarvon and Exmouth.

It warned people travelling through the area who are not prepared for a fire to consider leaving now.  

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