AN outpouring of community support over the sudden death of an award-winning firefighter has brought some comfort to his young family.
Electrician Mark Slocombe (33) died in a roof in Yokine on March 15.
The firefighter was a mentor and team leader who fought to save lives and property in the 2014 bushfire that destroyed homes in Parkerville, Stoneville and Mt Helena.
Family friend Simon Spitale said his best mate was a man who never asked for help, but was always the first to offer it.
More than 700 people attended the Fremantle service for the father-of-two, who served with Mundaring, Kalamunda and Karratha volunteer fire and rescue services.
A vintage fire truck from Perth Museum followed the funeral procession to a guard of honour formed by 200 firefighters.
The family returned to the Hills in January from Karratha and settled in Mundaring where they established D-MAK electrical and air conditioning.
Mandy (34) described her husband as a typical Aussie larrikin who loved his mates and “looked after his own”.
“He was always helping people, whether it was chopping down a tree or fixing someone’s motor,” she said.
“Mark was the first person to put his hand up to help; we’ve never had to ask for help ourselves.”
She could not have imagined the generosity of strangers, friends and colleagues as news of the tragedy spread through the community.
People rallied to provide support in whatever they could, delivering meals and groceries to the family’s door and sending bouquets by the dozen.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Chaplain Daniel ‘Charlie’ Watson was the first person to arrive at the accident.
He knew Mark and notified Mundaring and Karratha fireys who turned out in force to lend their support.
The kindness of friends, colleagues and strangers in the days that followed continued.
“The fireys turned up one day and persuaded me to leave the house for a while,” Mrs Slocombe said.
“When I got back, they’d cleaned the house and tidied up the garden.
“Someone made a roster for cooking, washing, cleaning… some days there were 20 to 30 people in the house.
“I don’t like a quiet house and I actually loved people being here.”
Mundaring firefighters presented miniature replicas of their colleague’s national and state service medals to his children Keira (7) and Deakin (5).
Deakin wants to be a firefighter ‘just like dad’ when he grows up.
“As soon as Mark put his fireman’s uniform on, he was ‘on the job’ and he always put safety first,” Mandy said.
“When he said it was time to pull back from a fire, everyone knew it was time to go.”
She said he took pride in his role as a mentor to recent recruits Andrew Pearce (22) and 21-year-old Jenny McGowan.
“He was like a father to them,” Mandy said.
The couple met at Lesmurdie Senior High School and grew up in the Hills.
Donors and supporters
Stoneville Fresh – delivered fruit and veg boxes
Woolworths Mundaring – delivered meat and Easter baskets
Volunteer fireys – cleaned up property/made replica medals
Maid in the Hills – provided a free cleaner
Facebook Hills Chat Group – offered repairs
Mundaring Primary School – P&C donation
Lesmurdie Club – fundraising rock concert under way
Auslec Karratha – ex-Eagles sports event in progress