News & Media

Strike Team 1314 helps families in South Australia

By: Duncan Russell

Category: Incidents - Bushfire

  11.07 AM 1 December, 2015

Location: District 13 News

Views: 2696

While the main fire in South Australia was contained fairly quickly after CFA crews arrived, CFA members worked hard attending burning hay sheds, piles of smoldering chook poo (used to fertilise wheat fields), smoldering stumps and a few small outbreaks.

By Adam Kamenek, District 13

They also visited numerous properties taking time to talk and listen to the locals. The locals’ hospitality was amazing and again we thank them.

Strike Team 1314 gave local SA Country Fire Service crews a well-earned break, and reassured the local community as well as assisting the community in any way it could while patrolling and mopping up along the fire edge. CFA and DELWP firefighters were very successful. We worked as one and the whole Victorian contingent made a big difference.

There are no words to describe the damage and devastation. Seeing the speed at which the fire spread was all very sobering. It reinforces our message of leaving early and having a fire plan. We are still very much thinking of all those that were affected by these fires.

A telling story from Strike Team 1314, and just one of numerous similar stories, was crews going above and beyond to help one particular family. This family had lost a couple of family members recently and, in the days leading up to the fire, had only just attended a funeral for one family member.

The strike team leader and a few tankers were patrolling when they came across their property. The damage was almost total and for as far as the eye could see.

When the fire hit this particular family they lost machinery sheds, machinery, a fair amount of crops and hay stock. However, their house survived. Just. There was also a large smoldering hay and machinery shed close to the house and right next to some disabled, but very expensive, surviving machinery. Crews helped pull apart the hay, wetting down the hot spots and leaving the farming family to finish up when it was safe, before moving on to another task.

A little while into the task, crews found out about the family’s circumstances and that the family had already donated what was left of their fields and feed to farmers who had lost everything.

Crews then received a call over the radio stating their meals were ready at a local fire station. They headed in as soon as the hay was safe. Each crew was informed and they decided to do as much as they could for the family. Crews requested permission to stay on, completely finish the job and await the arrival of some more of the family and owner of the property. Permission was given and crews stayed on scene for some time to complete the job and reassure and comfort the family as best they could.

The family was very thankful (with hugs all round) and asked to have some photos with the crews.

Job well done to all involved including the drivers who ferried the trucks there and back. Stay strong SA, we are still thinking of you!

Photos by Adam Kamenek

Last Updated: 01 December 2015