Strangers put out flames


Many people driving home from work stopped to help put out the farmhouse fire caused by lightning.  Picture: David Baylis         www.communitypix.com.au   d449109
Many people driving home from work stopped to help put out the farmhouse fire caused by lightning. Picture: David Baylis        www.communitypix.com.au d449109

Polytechnic West lecturer Brian Blasgund and his wife Jen were unaware their lives were in danger until someone banged on their door at 1pm to raise the alarm.

Mrs Blasgund said a female driver had pulled off Campersic Road into her driveway after seeing the lightning strike.

Within minutes, more vehicles lined her driveway and people were heading towards her to offer help.

“People came from nowhere; two of the drivers had firefighting equipment,” she said.

“I have no idea who those people were; one vehicle had Gidgy Water on the side.

“The Australian spirit is alive and well and I’m feeling blessed. We are so very grateful.”

Mrs Blasgund said the driver with the bulk water container in tow savedtheir house.

“I was scrambling around with hoses and buckets… there was hardly any water pressure and I could see the fire had reached the firebreak,” she said.

“If it wasn’t for the man with the water container, we would have lost the house.

“It could have been so much worse.”

The fire tore through two hectares of dry grass, destroying outhouse buildings and fences on the five-hectare block.

“At one point, the house was engulfed by flames on three sides,” Mrs Blasgund said.

“I’ve never been so scared in my life.”

The firefighting effort of strangers prevented embers from reaching a tree-lined area towards the hills and a neighbour’s property.

Mrs Blasgund said the fire was contained but not under control when fire crews arrived.

Her father-in-law Mario inherited the family farmland and having retired recently, had cleared several paddocks for livestock.

“This year, he made the firebreak three times the required distance; he must have had a premonition,” Mrs Blasgund said.

The couple had evacuated the same property in 2009 when a nearby fire came dangerously close and destroyed 38 properties.

An EnergySafety report into the Toodyay bushfire found the cause of the fire was due to a faulty power pole.