Tales of tragedy, courage and hope all came out of the Woolooga fire, 2018.
Tales of tragedy, courage and hope all came out of the Woolooga fire, 2018. Renee Albrecht

Nine incredible stories from the Woolooga fire

1. Exploding water tank helps brothers save house

 

Matthew Neilsen near an exploded water tank that helped save a house.
Matthew Neilsen near an exploded water tank that helped save a house. Leeroy Todd

WHILE firefighters worked beyond the point of exhaustion last week, it was the heroic efforts of brothers Matthew and Tim Neilsen that saved three properties from certain destruction.

After banding together to stop the blaze from reaching and claiming their own properties, an urgent call from their mother Helen on Thursday afternoon spurred them back into action.

Arriving just as the flames "reached over" and touched the top of their parents' house "like a wave", the brother's "quick thinking" to burst a full water tank gave them the miraculous solution they desperately needed.

FULL STORY HERE

2. Father of three saves school just in time

 

Ashley Blake at his property in Woolooga.
Ashley Blake at his property in Woolooga. Philippe Coquerand

A WOOLOOGA man's desperate "need to act" despite being blocked by police might have been the defiance that saved the Woolooga school from destruction.

Ashley Blake, the father of triplets who attend the school, had been out warning friends of approaching fire at their home, when he saw flames approaching one of the school's buildings.

With the road blocked, Mr Blake had already been asked to move from the area.

"Some officers asked me not to go in, but I snuck around the corner.

FULL STORY HERE

3. Historic bridge destroyed in inferno

 

Firefighters spray a bridge at Woolooga that could not be saved, just meters from a house.
Firefighters spray a bridge at Woolooga that could not be saved, just meters from a house. Frances Klein

NOT only did Vince and Dianne Hollis have flames threatening their inner-Woolooga home on Thomas St, they also had to watch a major Woolooga icon collapse and burn just metres from their home.

The historic railway bridge that abuts their back fence could not be saved from the vicious flames that latched onto the massive sleepers after it jumped Wide Bay Creek.

The Hollis home became a thoroughfare for firefighters who had to continuously monitor the slow-burning bridge.

"It's very unnerving; you'd like to do something but you don't know what to do," she said.

FULL STORY HERE

4. Drastic action saves 140yo house in path of fire

 

Shane Ransley and Meredith Ransley at their home in Woolooga.
Shane Ransley and Meredith Ransley at their home in Woolooga. Philippe Coquerand

ONE of Woolooga's oldest properties had a miraculous escape from the wild fires that raged through the district late last week.

Shane and Meredith Ransley last year bought the The Acacia Vale Homestead that was built in the 1880's by the Pike family.

Last week when the piece of Woolooga history was threatened three times by fire, the Ransleys had to take drastic actions.

FULL STORY HERE

5. 'Five more minutes and my house was gone'

 

Phil Bedford at the ashes of the Woolooga fire.
Phil Bedford at the ashes of the Woolooga fire. Renee Albrecht

PHIL and Julie Bedford have been Woolooga residents for 40 years, but they have never seen anything like the terrifying bushfire that came within inches of their home last week.

They were in Gympie on Wednesday morning when they received news they had long been expecting: wild flames raging on their 80-acre (32ha) property and threatening to leave their Pike St residence in its wake.

"We could just see the flames coming across the hill. We rang 000 and they said there wouldn't be any trucks for 10 minutes, and I said 'I've only got about 10 minutes before it hits here'," he said.

FULL STORY HERE

6. 'Wall of flames' destroys 99% of property

 

Bradley and Anne Marie Pike at their Woolooga property where they lost close to 700 acres (283ha) of grazing land to bushfire.
Bradley and Anne Marie Pike at their Woolooga property where they lost close to 700 acres (283ha) of grazing land to bushfire. Frances Klein

IT WAS the intense wind that drove the fire through Bradley and Ann-Maree Pike's cattle property on Smith Rd, ripping through 99% tenths of their 700 acre (283ha) property last Wednesday.

Mr Pike, who had been at a meeting in Brisbane tried to get home, but was blocked by police who closed the main roads through Woolooga on Thursday.

Mrs Pike and her three children at home armed themsleves with garden hoses as they watched the wall of fire bear down on one of the house properties.

FULL STORY HERE

7. Farmer hit fourth time by raging fire

 

Woolooga grazier Ross McClymont has lost 60  acres of grazing grass to the fire that ripped through Woolooga and came dangerously close to his house.
Woolooga grazier Ross McClymont has lost 60 acres of grazing grass to the fire that ripped through Woolooga and came dangerously close to his house. Frances Klein

AFTER an exhausting and successful fight with up to 20 men on the ground using wet hessian sacks to save Ross McClymont's house last Wednesday, the fire returned a bitter blow the next day.

Mr McClymont was at his neighbour's house, furiously helping while the fire tore through grazing property there, when his wife at home called.

He could see the flames, but was stuck.

Luckily three men working on a roof at the property jumped to action.

FULL STORY HERE

8. 200 cattle missing after 'wall of fire'

 

DESTRUCTION: Terry Rauchle is devastated after losing cattle and almost 4,000 acres of grazing land.
DESTRUCTION: Terry Rauchle is devastated after losing cattle and almost 4,000 acres of grazing land. Philippe Coquerand

TERRY and Dale Rauchle were stunned by the "wall of fire" that left a trail of destruction on their Old Boowoogun Station property at Woolooga last week.

The 1618ha (4000 acre) property that was once grazing land for 1000 cattle is now blackened to nothing, with just 20.83ha untouched.

"We had 12-foot-high flames coming across the paddock. It was terrifying.

Mr Rauchle said he had retrieved around 700 cattle but was still looking for the remaining 200.

FULL STORY HERE

9. Boris the piglet back home after big journey

 

Boris the piglet was a lucky survivor of the fire.
Boris the piglet was a lucky survivor of the fire. Contributed

LAST week's bushfires brought unprecedented devastation to the communities of Woolooga, Sexton and surrounds, but one little piglet's incredible journey back home signified a silver lining for one local family.

After the inferno tore through their 10-acre Cahill Rd hobby farm and damaged their pig pen last Wednesday, the Blake family were forced to play the waiting game and hope their runaway eight-week-old piglets Boris and Bacon would return.

Tragically Bacon "didn't make the road crossing" and got hit by a car, but Ashley, Linda and their triplets Phoenix, Tywin and Indica were amazed to discover Boris back on their neighbours' property after a "big adventure".

FULL STORY HERE

 

Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire.
Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire. Philippe Coquerand
Gympie Times


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