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IAN HARTLEY’S STORY - CONT. Quarry Road Bushfire Brigade Esperance Fire & Rescue Brigade

The Station Officers were good to their word and

rubbish. Checking out hydrants and then tasked with

The fantastic Gibson Tigers and Scaddan community. It

organised the Padre and liaison officers to go out the

asset protection. Jumping trucks and crews to keep

is great to live in a small town. But history has shown that

next morning, to speak to David and his team. But driving

the experience up across the teams, working with other

the effects that something like this has on a community

past, through the devastation and seeing the despair in

FRS personnel from the Perth strike teams. But a special

can last for many years, if not decades to come.

the eyes of a bloke I truly respect, will be burnt into my

memory was when I came home each night and when I

memory for ever.

left each morning, I got a warm embrace and a kiss from

So, we still need to carry on the good work that has been

my wife and kids, and I told each one of them how much

started. If your mate is staring off into space, is quiet and

I loved them and they told me the same thing.

withdrawn. MAN UP.

I had the next day at work as we had been stood down.

All it takes is for you to start the conversation.

I went to Kalgoorlie by car to return with the empty fuel

By this stage we were doing running repairs to the rescue

train the next morning. As we topped the hill at Gibson

gear, pumps and we needed some signs made up.

you could still see the smoke rising in the distance. I

I walked into a local business and had them hand me the

had been awake at 11:00pm from the night before and

gear we needed, no payments required. O-rings, tape

we had to cross a train just out of town. I turned my

and signs where all donated with a hand shake and a

phone on to see 15 missed calls from Payden. ‘They

word of thanks for our efforts. I am still amazed at the

had been told to evacuate, please call me dad,’ said

community spirit of Esperance.

the text messages. Within ½ an hour I was at the town station. Loni handed me a job list of who to contact and

Being on station from 6:00am till 7:00pm and the jobs that

a couple of other notes from my mates in the SES, then

flowed in and out, the high stress loads of our officers,

out to Quarry Road I drove. Lonica said that it was all

it was a proud feeling to be part of this young and

good and not to panic. Just check on Payden and then

enthusiastic Fire and Rescue Brigade and experienced

return to the station.

Quarry Road Bush Fire Brigade. But sadly, I can see the weight that they all carry.

It was all good for about the first 20 minutes. What I remember of the following days are a blur. Car

The community has done a wonderful job in the last 12 to

under a dozer (we were happy no one was injured,

18 months of looking after each other. From the kids that

but we were happier that it was a T.V. reporter’s car),

made letters to put in the lunch packs and the ladies that

somebody lighting a fire in their back yard to clean up

helped in the food preparations.

pg 40 | ian hartley

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