10 February 2009

Victoria Bush Fire update 4

The death toll continued to raise overnight, reaching 173 confirmed deaths now. Unfortunately, the number is expected to increase as authority goes over the damaged/destroyed homes.

A featured story from 7:30 Report last night told the survival ordeal of a couple with 25 years experience living in the bush.

"We had wet towels, we were trying to mop up the embers as they were coming through," he said.

Janice Hughes describes it as like being the target of an Uzi machine pistol attack.

"As fast as you were with the wet towel, trying to keep the embers out ... if you were up the top, they were coming in the bottom, because a towel isn't the whole length of a door," she said.

Their escape was a remarkable decision made at the blink:
They got in the car and put the air-conditioning on.

"I knew at the top of our driveway were trees and I was worried that they obviously were burning," he said.

"So I tried to back the car a bit further away from the house, 'cause our other car by then was well alight and I was worried about the fuel tank going. And then the roof of our house just ruptured open with flame and the wind was beginning to blow the metal off and towards us."

He was left with the choice was to stay at the house and die, to drive out of the driveway and probably die at the gate in flames, or to stay in the thin strip of land that had already been burnt.

Eventually, it was a thin strip of burnt land that saved their lives.

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