‘It’s gone, everything’s gone’: third time unlucky for tragic Bill

‘It’s gone, everything’s gone’: third time unlucky for tragic Bill

05 June 2012

published by www.theage.com.au

Australia — Bill Thomas feels like he is being chased by bad luck.

Three years ago, the 80-year-old’s house was incinerated in the Black Saturday bushfires.

A few months later, he suffered an aneurysm from which doctors feared he would never recover.

Last night was third time unlucky for the recent arrival to Traralgon.

“It’s gone, everything’s gone,” Mr Thomas said this morning, surveying the outside of his small rented bungalow on Franklin Street that now sits under water.

“I’ve lost everything, even my car’s in the garage. It’s under water. You name it, all the little possessions that people have, they’re all gone, again. Twice now for me.

“Fire, aneurysm, then now flood.”

Mr Thomas said State Emergency Service workers knocked on the door of the home at 2am and told him to evacuate after the Traralgon Creek burst its banks.

“I looked outside, all I could see was a lake,” he said.

“They came in one of the SES vehicles and they managed to get to the house, and I stepped off and was up to my knees in water.”

Mr Thomas, who lives alone, tried to put a few small possessions on top of his cupboards before evacuating the property with his dog Rex, a German shepherd.

It was a familiar scene for the pair, who had raced together from their house in Callignee when the Black Saturday bushfires tore through the area in 2009.

“He saved my life up at Callignee,” Mr Thomas said of his beloved dog,

“I was lying down and he kept coming into the bedroom, then out to the back door, and into the bedroom, and so finally I got up to look why.

“Behind the house the flames had reached 100 feet high and were heading straight at me. If he hadn’t have been so agitated I wouldn’t be talking to you now.”

Mr Thomas said he stayed in a motel last night and was forced to put Rex in a kennel today while he figured out his next move. His daughter, from nearby Morwell, was with him today supporting and helping him.

Mr Thomas said his insurance policy did not cover him for flood damage.

“Basically I’ve got to find somewhere to live,” he said. “I’ve got to go back and see the real estate people to see what on earth they’re going to do. Are they going to find me another house?

“We’ll have to go to the Salvation Army and see if we can buy a bed and a table. Goodness knows what else.

“My car is in the driveway, it’s under. My ride-on mower, everything in the garage is gone.”

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