News & Media

Numurkah's Kevin a long-time volunteer

By: Leith Hillard

Category: People

  11.20 AM 19 June, 2015

Location: District 12 News, District 22 News, District 23 News, District 24 News

Views: 1279

Nothing is more harrowing for long-time volunteer firefighter Kevin Lucas than having to run through a burning building to save a life.

The Numurkah firefighter remembers attending a house fire where a baby had been left inside. When he arrived on the scene, he learned the baby’s parents had ventured next door and left their child home alone.

Story by Anthony Cini, Shepparton News

He said watching the carnage unfold in front of him was one of the most harrowing experiences he’d had as a CFA volunteer.

‘‘I went to another one where a child’s mother had left them unattended at home when they nicked next door for something,’’ Kevin said. ‘‘The kid then found some matches, and up it went.

‘‘Those kinds of fires are the absolute worst.’’

He said what helped him get through that difficult time was to talk it over with his fellow firefighters.

‘‘Both of those fires took place at night. Normally, you go to a fire in the daytime and you just go about your day, go back to work or do whatever you were doing before.

‘‘With night fires, you need to have a chat so everyone knows how to cope with it before going home to bed.’’

More recently, Kevin helped fight two structure fires in Numurkah.

‘‘I went to the church fire last week as well and I helped operate the pump at the Saxton St housefire, but often I’m the driver,’’ he said.

Kevin has been a CFA volunteer since 1956. A friend of his family from Pyramid Hill had been a volunteer and Kevin was inspired to join.

Kevin volunteered with Tatura Fire Brigade for almost 15 years and had positions of Lieutenant and Breathing Apparatus Officer. After 1970 he took a couple of years off when he moved to Melbourne to study teaching, before returning to CFA, this time with Numurkah Fire Brigade.

He has been a secretary for 19 years within the CFA and is the Numurkah Group secretary, as well as one of the FEM officers for the Numurkah brigade.

Other incidents he has been involved with include three floods in Numurkah (1974, 1994 and 2012) as well as the

north-east fires in 2003, 2006-07, and the Wunghnu fire in February last year.

‘‘The friendships I’ve made have been the best thing about volunteering,’’ said Kevin. ‘‘I may be 76 years old now, but I still like to be involved and help the community any way I can.

‘‘I haven’t worked as a woodwork teacher for over 20 years, so I naturally have a lot of time on my hands. When the pager goes, off you go. If I’m able to do it, I’ll go.

‘‘I was lucky in Tatura because if there was someone there to cover me, I was allowed to go. It’s harder with workplaces these days.’’

Kevin said one of the other essential things about being a volunteer firefighter was having family support.

‘‘Family is very important. I had so much support from my wife and children when they were living at home,’’ he said. ‘‘Without that support, you can’t be in it.

‘‘One of my granddaughters told her partner the other day not to park in the driveway in case I had to go to a fire.’’

Photo by Ray Sizer from the Shepparton News

Last Updated: 19 June 2015