I’m no hero, says inferno res­cuer

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - PETER MICHAEL

RAVEN­SHOE blast res­cuer Ian Geoghe­gan sees it like a dis­as­ter film on loop or replay.

He hears an ex­plo­sion. He sees smoke. He starts sprint­ing. To­wards flames. Into the inferno.

“I’m no hero,” said the Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank man­ager at Raven­shoe, pop­u­la­tion 900, in North Queens­land.

“You just re­act. Noth­ing seemed real. Time and space was sur­real. Peo­ple were crawl­ing, ly­ing in the gut­ter, skin smok­ing, clothes burnt off, there was smoke, dust, bro­ken glass and de­bris.”

In a town of a hun­dred he­roes, lo­cals ral­lied to help 20 pa­trons of that ill- fated cafe af­ter a ute crashed into a gas tank and det­o­nated a fire­ball on June 9. Res­cuers doused the burns with wa­ter, wrapped torched skin in cling- wrap and told jokes to keep up spir­its.

“I keep see­ing it over and over in my head,” said Mr Geoghe­gan, who has been nom­i­nated for the Pride of Aus­tralia Out­stand­ing Brav­ery Medal. “It’s on a loop. All the in­jured were just so stoic.”

How­ever, the next test will come in the next few weeks and months as sur­vivors re­turn from hos­pi­tal.

Not to men­tion on­go­ing sup­port for trips to Bris­bane and Cairns for skin graft oper­a­tions and check- ups.

“I’m proud to call Raven­shoe home,’’ Mr Geoghe­gan said.

“Home is where the heart town has a whole lot of heart.”

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