Good deed nearly cost fireman his life

Warren Schofield is back at work. Picture: Elle Borgward d397346
Warren Schofield is back at work. Picture: Elle Borgward d397346

Mr Schofield has been back on full duties at the station after several weeks of rehabilitation, including skin grafts, following the ‘freak accident’ while mopping up at the Bertram bushfires in late December.

‘I was with my wife Julie in a light tanker and I had just radioed that we were out of water and heading back when I saw a bandicoot crawling out. It was screaming because it was walking on the ash ground,’ he said.

‘I thought I’d grab the bandicoot and help it out of the area.’

But as he left the vehicle and took several steps a massive branch broke off a tree and landed on the veteran volunteer, knocking him to the burning ground.

‘Of course I had taken my gloves off because we had finished our work and I wasn’t expecting to be out of the vehicle until I saw the bandicoot,’ he said.

‘The branch fell across my shoulder and back. It knocked me out for a minute or so with my hands under all of my weight against the hot ground.’

‘If the tree hit me fully I would have been gone… they call those ones widow makers for a reason.’

What made the scene even more horrific was that his wife Julie witnessed it all from inside the tanker.

‘I woke up screaming that I was on fire, put me out’