CHAMPIONS: Matthew Neilsen stands among the wreckage of his parents' 40-acre Woolooga property. Matt and his brother Tim have been commended for their heroic, fast thinking in the face of the fire disaster. Photo: Leeroy Todd
CHAMPIONS: Matthew Neilsen stands among the wreckage of his parents' 40-acre Woolooga property. Matt and his brother Tim have been commended for their heroic, fast thinking in the face of the fire disaster. Photo: Leeroy Todd Leeroy Todd

Exploding water tank helps brothers save house from bushfire

FIREFIGHTERS worked beyond the point of exhaustion as the monstrous Woolooga bushfires threatened residents and their houses this week, but 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.

UPDATE: Woolooga/Sexton fire heading for Devil's Mountain

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

"Mum was here by herself and she rang me saying 'I can see the fire', and I said 'get out, just get out, leave', he said.

FULL FIRE COVERAGE

"We spent a couple of hours fighting that one, it was so close. There were probably 20 foot flames, and with the wind blowing this way it was just touching the house, arced over touching the house, a wave of flame. The tanks went up, that tank was full, luckily dad had filled it. That was the first one to go on fire.

"Then (Tim) put a pick through it to make it explode, and when it did it just relieved everything pretty much, the other one was only half full so it just melted in on itself.

"When it exploded it nearly knocked me over, it was that hot, I was standing there covering my face, it was burning my face. I'll never forget those flames and the sound they were making.

"When the firies got here they said 'how the hell did you get that out?'.”

Mr Neilsen said the harsh reality of their ordeal, which had seen Tim put down two of the family's horses, had not yet sunk in.

Rural businessman Tom Grady has offered to provide free transport on all bales of hay bought for the newly created Woolooga Hay Drive over the weekend until Monday.

Phone Tom Grady Rural Supplies on 5482 1692 and buy a bale for $16 to help affected property owners.

Donate to help cover some of the Woolooga bushfire damage costs through Go Fund Me at https://www.gofundme.com/donate-for-woolooga-bushfire-damage?member=792576.

Gympie Times


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