Nuff Nuff

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Story - A True Story Part 5 - Black Saturday

Part 4

Having got back into the car and knowing that power lines and trees were down on the upper road - I took the lower road back into the main township and in the process saw a gentleman watering down some embers in the front of his house - I stopped to ask if there was anything I could do - He looked horrid. He had lost his wife, after thinking he had left her in one of the safest places in town - thinking that that fire system would protect them if the building caught fire - the fire front had passed - he left to check the house and when he got back the place was burnt to the ground - He requested that I get a message to his son - which I did at about 11.30am .

There was no communication in or out of the town – after about 7am. Because I have an older phone I was able to get reception until the metro towers became busy with mobile traffic. That ability disappeared once the towers got busier. When I left Marysville I sent about 20 SMS and his was one of them. I also left with 2 pages of phone numbers to call to advise family members that family was safe.

I went to go back to the house, to do so, required that I drive OVER the fallen remains of the hotel wall - lumps and bumps, it was weird, even the climbing of fallen on fire trees wasn't that scary - keeping in mind that in any traveling I have done, I have not been stopping anywhere unless I have seen someone completely lost - I have not detoured anywhere unless to avoid trees - I have seen about 50% of the town and only 4 houses still standing so far. :(

I got back onto my parents street with the intention of going back to mum and dads but the CFA won’t let me pass :( - After a small dispute, which unfortunately I told the gentleman (from the CFA) manning the roadblock that he can’t stop me. I double back and got in the back way - noticing at the same time that numerous water meters are spouting water into the air from broken stop taps.

I go back to house and report about the evacuation and the reasoning behind it being the lack of water and that I believe that the lack of water can be solved in minutes or maybe a little longer - D having worked for the water board he would know what do.

We took my car and went from house to house - turning off broken meters OR ramming with a hammer - garden stakes into the broken stop tap valves and stopping the flow of water. We have done about 5-6 meters this way and turned off a further 4-5 broken meters - the water pressure was still no good. As we are turning the corner to return around the block back to the house (D is in a state of shock and collapse by now) - I hear gushing water. It turns out that an automatic fire system has failed due to the collapse of the building around it and was allowing water to cascade onto the streets and vastly reducing the water pressure.

We proceeded to turn off several commercial fire services that are protecting nothing as all the buildings have all burnt down.

I believe this process is frowned upon, but we didn't have a choice, we needed water to put out the spot fires and to remain in the house to prevent looting.

With this - taking all of about an hour - we managed to restore water to 75% of the town. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Afterwards I found out that in doing that, we also prevented the evactuation of Buxton, which feeds off the Marysville water. A valve that closes when the pressure gets too low - re-opened when the pressure was re-instated)

Having done that and the whisper that they were going to shut the town down - and remove everyone - Somebody knocked at the door to advise of evacuation, The door knockers were told that the people in this house would NOT be leaving and said unless you handcuff him - he will not leave - he has water - they can’t make him leave!!!!!!!!!!!!! - at the same time - he told me to get out - because if they decided to they could stop me leaving OR force me to leave in the convoy and head directly into the path of the Cathedral range fires - I make my own choices. I left - I got to the top of Mt Gordon and that was where I was accosted by the Channel 7 news team, they 'interviewed' me for about 5-10 minutes - I don’t recall exactly - but I know I told them they were arse holes and to piss off - ooops - no wonder they only used 10 seconds of the footage.

Noting - forgot to mention – when I was talking to the man that lost his wife - the gentleman that helped me with the sign and the second tree - said he had cleared a lot of the road from Marysville to Narbethong - so I could get back easier - not sure if he did it just for me or not - but made me feel good.

I left - the road was a lot better on the way out - the devastation still the same - I made it through to the other side with no complications

I hadn’t slept for 30 hours by the time I got home - I had so many phone calls to make - I am sure that I have burned my mobile :( I was on the phone almost the entire trip home and when I got home - I the made the nitty gritty phones calls, the interstate phone calls that required calling the local police stations and getting them to get people to call me.

The phone stopped ringing about 4pm - I went to bed and got about 2 hours sleep - I am going back into Marysville tomorrow with a trailer and various tools (from garden stakes) and star pickets and 3 way gas fridges to try and make sure that the households that want to stay can and the officials can’t stop them

I have not seen a lot of the town - so I can’t give a full break-down - I only went from A to B and then C - nothing else - I can’t bear people to stare at me - so why should I stare at others?

Anyway - it is midnight - I think I have covered everything

Part 6

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