Fire’s un­sung he­roes

Tablelands Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - An­drea Falvo

RES­I­DENTS liv­ing in Koah and the sur­round­ing area have come to­gether to thank emer­gency ser­vices and vol­un­teers for pro­tect­ing their homes and com­mu­nity dur­ing a largescale vege­ta­tion fire.

The blaze broke out at Koah on De­cem­ber 3 and moved towards the Clo­hesy River area ear­lier this week.

Be­tween 700-800 acres were burnt by the fire, which was ex­tin­guished on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon.

Res­i­dents held a ‘thank you’ din­ner for emer­gency ser­vices and vol­un­teers at the Koah Hall on Wed­nes­day night.

“A few of us got to­gether and de­cided to hold the din­ner as a thankyou to those that have helped pro­tect our prop­er­ties and keep the com­mu­nity safe,” Spee­wah res­i­dent Joelle Ver­furth said.

Ms Ver­furth runs a horse rid­ing school in Spee­wah.

She said while her prop­erty wasn’t af­fected by the blaze, her fam­ily had evac­u­a­tion plans in place.

“We could see the smoke and fire, it didn’t come in our di­rec­tion but you never know when things can change,” she said.

“We had plans in place to go and move the horses if we needed to, it’s al­ways good to have a plan in place.

“Mon­day was the most wor­ri­some day that we had but they got onto it re­ally quickly.”

“It’s so dry and there’s so much fuel around at the mo­ment,” Ms Ver­furth said.

In­ci­dent Con­troller Paul Durston said ru­ral fire crews, State Emer­gency Ser­vice and Fire and Res­cue crews had worked to­gether to con­trol the blaze.

He said air­craft were also used for map­ping of the fire and for wa­ter bomb­ing.

Mr Durston said the ini­tial cause of the fire was still un­known and an in­ves­ti­ga­tion process with fire in­ves­ti­ga­tion and QPS had be­gun.

Crews had man­aged to pro­tect 10 prop­er­ties from the blaze and no one was in­jured.

One car­a­van and a ve­hi­cle were re­ported to have been burnt.

Koah Hall pres­i­dent Marc Jaschok said the hall had been open to emer­gency ser­vices and any­one that needed a place to evac­u­ate.

“The hall re­cently had up­grades so it can now be used as a place of refuge,” he said.

“We of­fered the hall to fire fight­ers and it can be used if any­one is dis­placed.”

Pic­ture: An­drea Falvo

Spee­wah and Koah res­i­dents Amanda Purkiss, Didi La Baysse, So­phie McGrath, Les­lie Cap­pel­letto, Oliver Ver­furth, 3, Jay­den Rose, Joelle Ver­furth and Marc Jaschok have thanked all the emer­gency ser­vices and vol­un­teers that help pro­tect their com­mu­nity from a large-scale fire. Pic­ture: An­drea Falvo

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