GALLERY: Miraculous escape from 20m wall of flames
WITH the 140,000ha Liberation Trail bushfire bearing down on him Tuesday afternoon, John Malcolm was adamant he was not going to leave the house he built 30 years ago.
As the fire edged closer to the Nana Glen property, Mr Maclolm's wife Cheryl, a WIRES rescue worker, spent from Saturday to Monday relocating rescue animals in preparation for the onslaught of the fire.
After spending Tuesday with his son and a neighbour on the property watering down the house, which stands on a 60ha property on Orara Way, Mr Malcolm was on the roof when the dead silence was broken by what sounded like a freight train.
A wall of flames up to 20 metres high was coming straight towards the house, and with moments to spare, Mr Malcolm and his son managed to escape as the fire chased them to the front of the property. They didn't even have time to take Sammy, their pet goat, with them.
They watched the property burn with such ferocity and speed but managed to escape unscathed.
After a while they chose to return, and on their walk back saw power lines were down on the ground. They walked past their neighbours house, burnt to the ground.
Another house on Mr Malcolm's property was also burnt to the ground but as they made their way to the top, they realised his house still stood, along with the family goat waiting his return.
Cheryl and John's daughter Sacha said the surrounds were a loss, all tanks burnt and sheds gone and all rescue enclosures lost.
"The fire went all around the house, it just came up the hill with no warning. There are so many other properties gone in the region but his house is still standing. It's a miracle," she said.
"Dad built the house with his bare hands in 1979 and he didn't want to leave. He wet the house down but it got to the point where he was on the roof and staring down the fire front, a 60ft wall of flames and he only had a few seconds to get out. We're still all in a bit of shock, there's still no electricty but the roof is still standing and it could have been so much worse, there's many others that have lost a lot more than us."
"We are thinking of everyone who is affected in so many ways. This was a devastating day for our family but we are all happy to be alive."