MORE than 100 people took shelter at Bomaderry Bowling Club at the height of Tuesday's fire emergency.
The club’s doors were thrown open as a northern evacuation centre from 6pm and continued through until around 10.30am Wednesday.
Club secretary manager Garry Wilbraham said the response from the various services was fantastic.
“Everyone just pitched in and did what we had to do,” Mr Wilbraham said.
“Community Services, along with groups from Anglicare, the Red Cross and Salvation Army as well as staff from the club all pitched in.
“We had 120 people register with the evacuation centre and stay the night in the club.
“The Salvation Army was incredible, finding 120 mattresses and blankets and we had people sleeping in every available area of the club.
“We had them in every room we had; they were in the coffee lounge, on the dance floor, in the bistro, upstairs in meeting rooms, downstairs in the billiards room – we even had them in the corridor from the back car park up to the foyer.
“We had them packed in like ants but it all worked well.
“Everyone was comfortable and they were all in good spirits.
“It you wanted to see good will and humanity, then you saw it Tuesday night. Everyone was willing to get in and help one way or the other.”
Mr Wilbraham said the club catered for two-year-olds through to people over 70.
“We had groups that were stuck while on holidays, trying to get to their locations or out on excursions for the day, while another group had gone to Jamberoo for the day and then couldn’t get home to Ulladulla,” he said.
As well as staff from Community Services and Anglicare, two Bomaderry Club employees, including Mr Wilbraham, stayed the night with the evacuees to ensure their needs were met.
“We made sure everyone was in good spirits and had what they needed including a late supper and then our catering staff came in at 7.30am and served up breakfast for our extra guests,” he said.
“I think we had one bleeding nose, which Dr Wilbraham catered for and one snoring issue which resulted in a relocation, but apart from that it was all smooth sailing,” he joked.
It’s not the first time the Bomaderry club has been used as an evacuation centre. The club undertook a similar role in the disastrous 2001 fires.
“It is a case of rolling up your sleeves and doing what you have to for your community,” Mr Wilbraham said.