Tags: stories of heroism

9 Feb 2009, Comments (17)


Author: Helen

Not saying much about anything here at the moment, because the situation in my State is too awful for words. The death toll is 131 at the time of posting. They haven’t found all the bodies.
Two towns, Kinglake and Marysville, both completely gone. Now Strathewen as well.

From the newspaper letters page today:

Australia’s real heroes don’t hit or kick or whack balls around, wear Speedos or strum guitars, all for great rewards. They drive fire trucks, wield hoses and risk their lives, for nothing.

Can I say an a-f**ckin’ men to that.

WHITTLESEA, Australia (AFP) – Huddled under a dampened blanket as Australia’s deadly bushfires roared over her head “like a jet engine”, Sonja Parkinson was convinced she and infant son Sam would die.
Instead, the flimsy shelter saved them from the inferno that claimed at least 32 lives in their town of Kinglake, one of many stories of heroism and miraculous escapes to emerge from the country’s worst fire disaster.
“I thought we were going to die,” she told the Australian newspaper, explaining how she ran for her life as her home was engulfed.
“The two front rooms were ablaze. I couldn’t see. It was black. We went down to the creek and we hid,” she said.
A shallow puddle proved their salvation, as Parkinson doused a blanket and awaited their fate.
“This little one was so brave under the blanket,” she said.
“We had a blanket over us in the creek and we huddled with the dog and two neighbours and two lyrebirds.
“It was shallow, a summer creek, but there was just enough water, a puddle. We sat in a muddy puddle under a wet blanket and the fire went through us.”
Further to the east near Healesville, teenager Rhys Sund used a tiny tractor and trailer to save his sister Rhiannon and a group of frightened women and children from an isolated farmhouse in the path of the firestorm.

“I’m so proud of the young bloke,” the 19-year-old’s father Mark told Melbourne’s Age newspaper. “He cut down the fences in his way and went in.
“Rhys hasn’t been to bed yet. He’s been fighting the fire all night.”

Christopher Harvey from Kinglake says the fire that hit the area was an “inferno”.
“There was no chance of fighting or taking care of this fire.
“Everybody’s gone. Everybody’s gone. Everybody. Their houses are gone. This is our house, this is it. They’re all dead in the houses there. Everybody’s dead.”

Red Cross – give them yer money and yer blood. As Lauredhel points out, don’t use the official DSE or CFA fire notification sites, so as to keep the traffic there down.

Update 10/2/2008:

The terrible outfall from the bushfires continues and there are lots of fantastic projects and acts of generosity going on right now. One I will mention is that on FRIDAY (13th) Coles will donate the profits of the day to bushfire relief. So everyone save up your grocery shopping and DO IT THEN. Pass the word!

(Via Eglantine’s Cake, who is in the thick of it at St Andrews.)