Boland's Gooloogong Bush Fire
Published Date: 12 Dec 2013
This fire started due to mowing, in yesterday's condition it picked up rather quickly and in a matter of seconds it was running towards the landowners dwelling.
Brigades and aircraft responded within minutes, however due to the fire being only 50metres from the house at the time of 000 call and the speed it was travelling the house was engulfed.
This is a sad but timely reminder that green areas and maintained grass areas around the house is a must. In a very short space of time a family home was lost.
The owner of the Gooloogong Road home that was destroyed by fire earlier this week has extended his heartfelt thanks to the neighbours and emergency services who helped him try to save his home of 16 years.
Tony Boland said that the bravery and hard work of his neighbours Trish, Mick and Jason Noble and the firefighters of the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and NSW Fire and Rescue should be acknowledged, as they put their lives on the line to try to contain the blaze.
Contrary to initial reports, Mr Boland was inside his home at the time of the fire and saw it start from his window.
According to Mr Boland, a contractor was mowing hay in the paddock in front of his house assisted by another man, when the mower struck an object, believed to be a rock.
He saw the fire flare up, so Mr Boland headed to his ute and drove over to help put out the flames.
As he reached the fire through, the wind picked up, propelling it towards his home.
It was at this point, they called the RFS and Mr Boland contacted his neighbours to bring their fire unit over.
He said once the wind hit, fire engulfed his house in two to three minutes, despite their efforts to douse the flames on the riverbank side of the home.
Mr Boland said then the RFS arrived, geared up to fight a grass fire, but found themselves on the receiving end of the smoke from the burning house and had to fall back.
Due to the age of the home, asbestos was a huge concern, so NSW Fire and Rescue were called out to help with equipment and to contain the fire that had swept through it.
The biggest concern at that point was the fire jumping the riverbank towards the back of the house and taking off through the dry field towards towns, so water bombers were called in to hit the flames hard from the air.
Mr Boland was then taken to hospital, after doing what he sheepishly admits was a "stupid thing".
The self-described "animal person" went back into his burning home three times to rescue his cat that kept fleeing into the smouldering building.
He said on the third time, he suffered smoke inhalation which took him out of action for the rest of the day.
He managed to get the muddle-headed moggy out though and was then taken to hospital.
He was released later that afternoon and found himself with nothing but the clothes he was wearing.
Although he didn't have time to grab any material possessions, Mr Boland said he had no regrets.
"I love my animals. They're my best mates," Mr Boland said.
"Everything in the house is replaceable but not them."
He's been back to the burned-out shell of his home twice now, and said save for the chimney and the water tanks, there's nothing left.
He's concerned about the wellbeing of the possums he's been hand-feeding, but he hoped that they would have taken shelter away from the fire.
Mr Boland said he is incredibly grateful for the professionalism and the hard work put in by the local firefighters, who monitored the embers well into the night and put the fire out again when it flared up again around 9pm.
He's lost a lifetime of memories and is still feeling the aftereffects of the smoke inhalation, but overall feels very lucky that it wasn't worse.
"I can't say thanks enough to everyone who was there," Mr Boland said.
"Coming into Christmas, it's really thrown everything into the lap of the gods [but] material things can be replaced."