Praise heaped on ‘heroes’

22/07/2018 Posted by admin

Selfless individuals have been praised for saving lives and property in Harden last week.

When a power pole snapped in Harden on Friday it sparked what could have been the deadliest fire across the Riverina this summer.

Rural Fire Service operations officerDavid Nicholson saidpeople, buildings and possessions would have beenlost if not for the work of more than 100 volunteers on what was the hottest day this summer.

“It certainly would have been a worse outcome,” Mr Nicholson said.

“It’s because of thededication on days like we had on Friday that it wasn’t.”

The resulting arc from the fallen line triggered a fast-running blaze that swept through the grass in the town’s north-west,aided by50-kilometer-per-hour winds on what was the hottest day this summer.

Minutes after the first fire was alight,two more grass fires ignited as a result of a roll-on weakness in the power lines.

“They were quite close together too,”Mr Nicholson said.

“The heat, the wind and the location also made it hard to get to.”

But within hours, volunteers had cut down fences andjumped on the fires to bring them under control.

Mr Nicholson said 25 to 30 trucks had responded to the blaze, including the assistance from neighbouring brigades.

“It’s our motto andour policyto send as much as we can as fast as we can,” he said.

“If it wasn’t for the quick response of our firefighterswe could have lost houses and people.”

Without a decent downpour, Mr Nicholson said this could be the start of a “hairy season”.

“With no sign of rain these kinds of events could become more frequent until March or April,” he said.

“It’s important to make sure your house is properly prepared, your grass is short and green and your gutters are free of bark and dried gum leaves.”

Back Demondrille road resident Martin Lang said it was thanks to fellow firefighters and neighbours everything wasn’t lost.

“I had one neighbour stomping grass out with his boots until the fire brigade arrived and another neighbour using his ownwater cart to keep it from the sheds,” Mr Langsaid.

“It was lucky firefighters were there quick enough–it could have been a lot worse.”

When Mr Lang arrived to his family home after 1pm, he jumped on a hose to help beat the embers threatening his land.

He said it was like fighting any other fire where “you do anything you can to put it out”.

“You never think it’s going to be your place when you get the message,” he said.

“I’m grateful to the guys for being there.”

Mr Lang said he wanted to thank the unexpected kindness of one neighbour who brought a bale of hay for his sheep.

“I didn’t get her name to thank her,” he said. “It was a really nice thing to do.”

Essential Energy southern regional managerSteven Ilitch said it was investigating the cause of a fault that occurred on the electricity network in the Harden area on Friday,resultingin a blackout that isolated359 customers.

When crews responded to a fallen power-line at Jack Ward Drive they came under the direction of the Rural Fire Service who were working to extinguish a grass fire.

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