'A bushfire saved my house'

John Brinsmead at the scene of a fire which destroyed three acres, just 50 metres from his house at Duranbah.
John Brinsmead at the scene of a fire which destroyed three acres, just 50 metres from his house at Duranbah. Blainey Woodham

“A BUSHFIRE saved my house from burning down.”

That is something John Brinsmead never thought he would say, but it’s true.

The Duranbah farmer feared the worst on Monday afternoon when a fire, believed to have started from power lines, began racing up the hill towards his home.

“All of a sudden this huge blaze sprung up from Eviron Road and within a few seconds I was covered in a plume of smoke,” Mr Brinsmead, 78, said.

“I was here on my own and just saw this big ball of flames.

“I ran up to get the hose and by the time I came back it (the fire) was gone.”

Unknown to Mr Brinsmead, two fire brigades which were racing past on their way to assist at a bushfire five kilometres away, spotted the fire.

The units radioed the water-bomber helicopters working on the Cabarita fire and within minutes they were drenching the flames.

“If all these other people hadn’t been working on these other fires we would have been devastated,” Mr Brinsmead said.

“Four other homes were at risk.

“The fire stopped about 50 metres from my property.”

Mr Brinsmead said the fire spontaneously burst out within seconds and was travelling up hill fast.

“This fire started in a flash and within minutes it was consuming everything,” he said.

“The wind was 70 or 80 kilometres; it was that strong you could hardly walk down the hill.”

“This fire just would have kept going.”

Mr Brinsmead said he would like to express his thanks to the firefighters who saved his home.

“There were just amazing.

“The helicopters were here for half an hour and the fire brigade were here for several hours.”

About three-acres of land, which is owned by Tweed Shire Council, was burnt.

The fire, Mr Brinsmead believed, was started by power lines hanging in trees.

“The place where this fire started was under the power lines.

“The power people have since been around to trim the trees.”

Mr Brinsmead said council should work with him and his neighbours in future years to consider back burning in the area.


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