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Macclesfield Ash Wednesday VIDEO
My name is Kenneth Hall and I am a member of Macclesfield Fire Brigade.
I had the opportunity to take part in a workshop at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image in Melbourne and learn how to make a short video about anything to do with CFA. My friend John Draffin from Monbulk brigade picked Ash Wednesday, 16 February 1983, as a theme. This tied in with my story.
Story by Kenneth Hall
While three tankers from Region 13 – Emerald, Monbulk and Macclesfield – were fighting a reasonable-sized fire on Ash Wednesday in the Cockatoo area, Macclesfield Austin truck (OJ194) was refilling from a hydrant in Bailey Road.
A severe wind change came through, driving the fire in Wright Forest towards us. The fire came so fast and the radiant heat was so fierce that the men on the Austin yelled at the driver to quickly go. He had to take off without disengaging the filler hose connected to the truck. The hose was torn from the truck connection and fell to the road, still pouring water.
At the same time, a fire brigade van came around the corner from up the hill behind us and rolled into the edge of the fire.
Our truck stopped and a minute later a man came running down the road very distressed and screaming that he was burnt. We took him and others we picked up along the way to safety, believing he was from the upturned van. We later found that this was not the case. We also heard that the two men in the van were trapped with the driver pinned behind the wheel. The passenger kicked out the back door and was immediately badly burnt but ran down the road to escape. There, lying on that same road, was a filler hose pouring water which he placed over his head, saving him.
That fireman was Ranald Webster who later became honorary mentor of the Alfred Hospital Burns Unit.
This incident remains vividly in my memory.