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‘I genuinely feared ‘this is it”: Caller’s terrifying account of the fire frontlines

NATALIE PETERS & ERIN MOLAN

A Fire and Rescue crewmember has called in to share his terrifying experience on the frontline of the Green Wattle Creek bushfire.

Kernin, a strike team commander from south-western Sydney, was protecting the town of Hill Top when the blaze suddenly rushed upon them.

“I can’t put into words what happened yesterday,” he told Nat and Erin.

“What we encountered was like nothing I’ve ever seen before… we encountered conditions that normally we would say are too dangerous to put our firefighters in.”

Facing 130km per hour wind speeds and two converging fire fronts with residents trapped in the homes, Kernin says “our normal strategy wasn’t an option.”

“We had gas cylinders exploding all over the place… things were literally bursting into flame because of the radiant heat.”

Kernin says he was attempting to assist another crew when “suddenly I had a 20m wall of flame on my left… [and] on my right.

“At that point, I genuinely feared ‘this is it’.”

Click PLAY below to hear the full story

Image: Getty/David Gray

 

NATALIE PETERS & ERIN MOLAN
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