Video: Firefighters' miraculous effort to repel blaze


AGAINST all odds, this house on Limestone Creek Rd in Yeppoon was saved by the heroic efforts from volunteer firefighters, who spent hours battling the inferno.

Allan Gadsby, 57, was yesterday one of those volunteers.

Mr Gadsby has spent his life helping others, having signed up as a volunteer firefighter in New South Wales as a teenager before joining the Royal Fire Brigade in Queensland six years ago.

Mr Gadsby yesterday fought fires for 11 hours - an act he considers just trying to "do his bit" to help others in need.

"I donate my time to help fight fires, and I donate my blood to the sick - that's how I do my bit and how I donate to charity," Mr Gadsby said.

Without the experience and support of Mr Gadsby and others like him, fires around the state would likely be much worse.

"The Royal Fire Brigade members have a lot of experience on the ground and know the likely outcomes of fires," Mr Gadsby said.

"A fire that big (from the video) doesn't go out only with water, so we need to backburn. "We're often not allowed to back burn though... we want to protect these people's properties, but we can get in trouble from police because we need to wait for advice from higher-ups, who are often not there on the scene as the fire is approaching us."

Regardless of the protocol around backburning, Mr Gadsby said he did as much as he could to save people's property - even after exhaustion set in.

"You're tired and you know can't fight every battle.. but sometimes you do see things and you just think that you've got to run in and give it everything you've got to save that person's house no matter what," he said.

The unpredictable and dangerous bushfire that claimed more than a dozen houses and sheds continues to burn on multiple fronts in ­central Queensland.

The massive 14km-wide blaze is burning from Cobraball toward Lake Mary, Bungundarra and Maryvale in the Yeppoon hinterland.

Another "leave immediately" order was issued yesterday afternoon, with emergency services warning the blaze was expected to have a significant impact on the community.

Livingstone Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig said the out-of-control blaze was one of most dangerous and unpredictable fires the region had seen.

"This is a fire with multiple fronts," he said.

"There's a front heading to the north, two heading to the east in different locations and one heading to the south and another the west."

On Saturday night and early yesterday, the fire burned 16 structures, including homes, as ember attacks lit fires 200m in advance of the firefront. Sheds and farming equipment were also lost as 6000ha of grazing, agricultural and bushland burnt.

"It was an impossible night, unfortunately, we just had to let the fire burn and focus on getting people out of the way," Cr Ludwig said.

Cr Ludwig said emergency services continued to be challenged as windy conditions fanned the blaze.

Yeppoon resident John McGrath said the scale and power of the fire he saw at midnight from a roadblock reminded him of seeing the 2003 Canberra bushfires that burned down 550 houses.





"Residents who had just taken family and animals to the safety of Yeppoon were not allowed home. You could see why," he said.

"I spoke to a good friend at midnight who, with power cut to the area, was putting out spotfires one bucket a time.

"I heard of someone else using milk, orange juice and any liquid fridge contents to do the same."

Another of his friends fled through a firestorm.

"He said it was the scariest experience of his life," Mr McGrath said.

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