‘My nephew’s terror as fire raged in Oz’

Oz wildfire
Oz wildfire
Share this article

A PENSIONER has told how selfless fire-fighters put their lives on the line to dramatically save his nephew’s house from destruction when a wildfire blazed just metres from his doorstep.

Terry Hanley’s nephew, Paul, took these heart-breaking snaps before police ordered him out of his home on the outskirts of Kelmscott, Western Australia, as a huge wildfire closed in.

Distraught, he was removed to a place of relative safety convinced that he would return to a severely fire-hit home.

But, amazingly, when he was finally allowed to return home eight hours later, he found it had been left virtually untouched - after two fire crews from Perth Airport had bravely kept the flames at bay.

Paul’s home was the only one in the area left standing.

Terry, 76, of Grange Park, told the Reporter: “Paul’s house was right in the middle of the wildfire and, despite all the efforts to stop the blaze in its tracks, he ended up having to be forcibly removed from his house by police for his own safety.

“When he was eventually allowed back to see if he could salvage anything, he was amazed to find that his house was still standing and had only been left with a bit of smoke damage.

“Apparently two fire crews just happened to be passing his house when they saw it was about to be enveloped by the flames. The firefighters were still at the scene when Paul arrived back there - some eight hours later.

“But, as Paul’s house was the only one left standing, he’s now having to look after all the neighbours’ pets under one roof!”

Terry, whose older brother Michael, 78, grew up in Sutton Oak before emigrating to Australia, added: “Apparently the wildfire was caused by a 64-year-old local chap who ignored warnings not to use mechanical equipment during the dry season and managed to set fire to his barn when a mechanical drill sparked.

“The area is so dry that a fire can spread so quickly.”