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DAVID MILLS - CONT. Gibson Bushfire Brigade member for 27 years and acted as a Fire Control Officer for Gibson during the 2015 fires.

around and that it wasn’t safe. Gibson 1 then pulled in

whilst the smoke cleared a bit and the fire head went

and checked in with the Stone’s to see if they were ok. It

behind Gibson 2.4 and followed us back to the highway.

through. About ten minutes later Pink Lake 3.4 turned up

was then that we were told Freddy’s ute had been found

at the intersection as well. By 5pm we decided to go

on the side of Grigg Road, but they couldn’t find Freddy.

I sometimes think about how I had the decision to turn

back into Scaddan and save what we could. We were

around or keep on continuing up Grigg Road, which at

the only ones there and weren’t getting direction, so we

We then left Stone’s place, heading up to Lover’s Lane.

that point still looked plausible. In hindsight I know that

may as well be useful.

It was around 7.30pm that I heard Pink Lake 3.4 use the Bushfire radio to ask DFES to call regarding something

it turned out to be the right choice, but it still gives me pause, when I think of how the outcome could have been

We all headed back up the highway to Kendall Road

important. It was that call that put the puzzle together for

so much worse. How much weight one decision held.

then turned right down Kendall Road, except for Gibson

me. I assumed that unfortunately it wasn’t good news

During the heat of the moment though, you are focussed

2.4, who had turned off prior to do something else. We

and they had found Freddy.

and don’t have time for other thoughts. And having a

then drove to the Scaddan School, Hall and Country

good team around you to bounce things off makes

Club area, rendezvousing at the school and getting out

I kept driving around looking for things to fix, as we still

everything that much better.

to have a look around. There was nothing left of the hall.

hadn’t had any direction. Running out of things, we

Andrew, who was driving Pink Lake 3.4, said the power

decided to head up to Grigg Road as assumed that’s

As we headed to the highway, I could hear Blake on

poles were burnt and lines were down over the railway

where Pink Lake 3.4 were. We got to Grigg Road just after

the Bushfire Radio, strongly suggesting that they should

track. He proceeded to make calls advising Western

8pm and found Pink Lake 3.4 and Gibson 2.4 at the site

evacuate Scaddan straight away. When we reached the

Power and also to try and halt trains. It was then a matter

of Freddy’s vehicle. It was then that I was told Freddy

intersection of Grigg Road and the highway we stopped,

of finding stuff alight and putting it out.

hadn’t made it.

the cab, about which way to head. We decided to head

Pink Lake stayed near the school and hall area, whilst

We stayed for a while but there wasn’t anything we could

south on the highway and were followed by Gibson 2.4.

we went up to the country club. The corner of the Country

help with. We headed up to check on another property,

At that stage Gibson 1 went to evacuate the teacher at

Club was burnt, the kitchen was on fire and it was getting

but nothing was happening there and so headed back


up into the roof. It took at least thirty minutes to extinguish

to where Gibson 2.4 still waited. After checking in with

it and make it safe.

everyone, we decided it was better to be on our way and

and there was another short conversation between us in

make the trip home.

Visibility on the highway was much better, with minimal smoke, so I was able to travel more sedately. At about

At a bit past six, I once again rang my wife who drives

4.40pm both of our trucks stopped at Speddingup Road

a bus for Scaddan Primary and let her know the school

I got no more than 200 metres down Grigg Road when

West and I called my wife. We waited with Gibson 2.4

was still standing. After that we went up to Raszyk Road

on the road side, I saw the underside of an aluminium

pg 108 | DAVID MILLS

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