A FIRE at Quinns Lane on Thursday started as a threat to businesses but in the end came dangerously close to destroying a number of nearby homes.
A quick and extensive response from firefighters gave them the edge against a fierce fire that was blasted along at great speed by hot and gusty winds.
Residents in the streets fed by Old Southern Road were overwhelmed by the thick black smoke and the speed and height of the fire as it raced toward them.
“Within minutes of me seeing smoke coming toward us the firefighters were here surrounding our homes. It was a massive sense of relief,” resident Frank Lovasz said.
“I come from the Blue Mountains so I’m pretty familiar with bushfire and if that wind had swung more to the south we could have been in serious trouble.
“We had embers falling around us and you can only do so much with a garden hose.”
Another resident, who came the closest to losing everything, said the speed of the fire was the thing that caught her by surprise.
“I wasn’t home but when I came down the driveway I could see the fire in the bush around our house,” she said.
“The police told me I needed to get out. I got my dogs, grabbed a computer and had to go.
“I felt sick, I thought we were going to lose it all.
“It was very intense. I want people to know it happens very fast, much faster than you think.
“I didn’t even have time to grab my evacuation pack of birth certificates and photos.
“I also underestimated the smoke.”
Before she arrived home a neighbour was hosing her house with a garden hose while Fire and Rescue NSW, RFS and NPWS firefighters were protecting the property.
She thanked all those involved.
“I’m very grateful to the firefighters and the members of the community who helped too.”
Southern commander of Shoalhaven Fire and Rescue NSW Mick Adams said considering the number of properties in the vicinity of the fire the fact that none were lost has been notched up as a win.
“The fire area was about seven hectares,” he said.
“We had 12 fire appliances from Fire and Rescue NSW and the RFS.
“The point of origin for this fire was at the rear of Eziway Concrete and police are investigating how the fire started.
“When we turned up the fire was burning close to a factory, it had got into tyres and pallets which was a nightmare.
“We got a hose line in place to stop that part of the fire getting into the factory and we were successful.”
The strong wind sent the fire racing through bush and grass toward houses down wind towards Old Southern Road.
Mr Adams was notified of the threat and sent appliances to protect the homes.
He said Fire and Rescue NSW and the RFS were successful in protecting the properties downwind of the fire.