FIRE fighters from across the region have joined strike teams in East Gippsland in the past couple of weeks.
Some of them were backing up after supporting the response effort along the NSW coast last month.
Among them were Leongatha fire fighters Michael Wright, Scott Hillis, Dale Carruthers and Peter Quill.
Dale was one of those who also served up in NSW.
“As soon as we got there, we were called to a house fire at Johnsonville and we found old mate trapped in his shed, but he was still determined he wouldn’t leave.
“The house was well alight and couldn’t be saved but I’m pretty sure the old bloke got out OK in the end.
“But yeah, it was very full on.”
The main role for Michael and his mates on the Leongatha tanker, was protecting a township area, putting out any fires that threatened private property and public assets.
“We also had Lee Foster go up there and drive the tanker back.”
The experience was enough to prompt Michael Wright to organise a relief effort at Leongatha once he got home.
More photos in this weeks edition of the South Gippsland Sentinel-Times.
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Community responds to bushfire relief day
THE Leongatha Fire Brigade held a highly successful goods and cash collection day at their fire station last Saturday, January 4 for the East Gippsland fires.
So successful in fact that they came back for an impromptu second effort on Sunday.
The scene at the fire station, especially on Saturday, was one of frenetic activity all morning with the efforts of local CFA volunteers boosted by family members and friends who set up a receival system for all the goods that arrived by the carload, trailer and trolley; everything from bottled water and toilet paper to tinned food, toiletries and other non-perishable goods, dog food, horse supplies and even a horse saddle.
In all, 48 pallets of food and other goods were collected, and an incredible $11,000 in cash donated.
The effort continued at the Wonthaggi Fire Station on Sunday and at the Middle Hotel in Korumburra on both Saturday and Sunday.
The outpouring of support for the special effort organised by local fire fighter Michael Wight was heart-warming.
“I was up in East Gippsland over the New Year, with a strike team from this area and saw first-hand the devastation being faced by the people up there,” said Michael this week.
“I got back here and just couldn’t sit around knowing what they are going through and what they need so I spoke to the captain and the lieutenant and we decided to organise this day.
“The response from the town’s traders and local people has been fantastic.”
And the kids also got a close-up look at one of the fire trucks that was involved in the fight last week.