Defending to the last

A relieved Shaun after the fire.
A relieved Shaun after the fire.

Three other houses in the street were destroyed in the blaze.

Shaun, who did not want his surname published, described the terrifying roar of the flames as the fire surged over the top of his house as he took shelter in the kitchen.

‘I had heard on the radio that the fire had started on Granite Road and, with the easterly direction of the wind, I knew it would be coming this way,’ he said.

‘My wife, two kids and one of our dogs evacuated to Mt Helena, but our other dog went loopy and we could not get him in the car.

‘I could see the fire coming up the hill, so I jumped in the pool fully clothed and hid in the kitchen as the fire went over the house.’

Shaun said he tried frantically to avert the flames from his house as the flames rose as high as 20m above the treeline.

He smashed down his wooden pergola with a sledgehammer to move it away from his brick house to reduce the fire risk.

‘It was frightening,’ he said.’

‘As the fire roared toward me it felt like it sucked all the air and I couldn’t breathe properly.

‘When it was about 50m from the house I thought that I may have made the wrong decision to stay, but my plan was that if it got too bad I would just jump in the pool and wait for it to pass.’

Shaun said the only damage to the inside of his home was from the billowing smoke that accompanied the blaze.

‘I am proud that I stayed and defended my home. If I hadn’t, I would not have a house at all,’ he said.

‘As far as I know, I was the only person on my street that stayed behind ” it was a bit lonely with no one else here.’

Shaun praised the brave work of the firefighters who risked their lives.