a picture my son drew of a wave on a beach


Tagged with: #dog #fire #death #broken hill

Last Sunday night we awoke to the sounds of sirens and the smell of acrid smoke. Pulling on ugg boots and going outside we were greeted by our neighbours house in flames. We ran across the road as the firetrucks pulled up.

Firies began pulling on PPE and setting up hoses while the IC went looking for the electrical box. A cry for help came from inside it was Alan, our kind neighbour.

The seconds suddenly slowed they divided and divided again before the firies went through the screen door. As they entered the insides of the building collapsed in a haywire of flames and chaos. Out they came again empy handed.

A's house blazing
House Fire

Being an onlooker was excruciating. For almost five years I was a first responder with the Sawtell Fire Brigade. When I was in Broken Hill as a student nurse I also responded to local fires with what is now my local brigade. Yet I could hardly charge into the blaze in my ugg boots with polyester dressing gown flapping.

I took a safer option and attempted to offer reassurance to an evacuated neighbour. She just needed a cigarette to calm her nerves so I was not much use. Her daughter came and took her away. The other neigbours had all taken to their cars to grimly watch, hoping their house would not be next.

Another neighbour arrived in his pyjamas. He took some pictures with his phone before retreating to his warm home. There was nothing we could do so we did the same. Back at the house I took a single picture of the rising smoke to prove to myself this really happened.

We could not think of sleep and sat out in the chill night stupidly hoping the firies would find Alan alive. They dumped water into the flames and after two long hours damp, heavy smoke replaced the flames. A jet of blackness became a dog running out of the black wreckage. It was Storm, Alans dog. She refused to be caught and kept trying to run back into the house.

I remembered trying to catch distressed dogs whilst encumbered in fire helmets, mask, heavy PPE. Luckily a kindly police officer eventually caught her and brought her to us.

Winnie was locked out back and poor Storm was given run of the house. Her tail stayed firmly between her legs. She was covered in soot and drenched from the hoses.

I toweled her dry and offered her water but she just paced to the gate and looked at the smoking spluttering wreck. Her eyes fixed on the firies as they went in and out of her home. It was a long night.

A sad brave orphan dog, the morning after her house burnt down
Storm in the morning

Rest in peace Alan

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