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Inner Western Courier Thursday Not Used Anymore : February 18th 2009
MB INNER-WEST WEEKLY, Thursday, February 19, 2009 7 VICTORIAN BUSHFIRE TRAGEDY www.innerwestweekly.com.au Charging fire saves game duo Josip Malovan and Misha charged the wall of fire. FIRES were racing towards Josip Malovan when he made a split second decision that saved his life -- and his dog's. Stranded in a field moving stock near his Wandong home and with all escape routes cut off, Mr Malovan revved his quad bike with dog Misha on board and headed for the flames. Rider and dog emerged un- scathed on the other side of the blackened hill. The Evel Knievel-style stunt saved both Mr Malovan and his german shepherd. ''I was at the bottom of a hill and could see that the fire was just racing through leaving scorched grass behind,'' he said. ''Misha has not left my side since and she is pretty traumatised while I have had trouble with my eyes but otherwise we are both unscathed.'' He said a neighbour who saw his desper- ate act called police and arrived later at the house in tears, convinced he had died. Mr Malovan is still trying to round up cattle and calves he set loose just before the fire arrived. ''I saw the fire a kilometre and a half away and the next minute it was on top of me, '' he said. ''I've never seen a fire move so quick,'' he said. He and his wife Anica worked all Saturday night putting out embers that threatened their home and shed. Eight of their neighbours lost their homes. ''We are just lucky and I don't know why or how we survived but I would never have believed a fire could inflict this damage and come so fast,'' he said. Close call uses one more life Bruce Gregory fought fire from room to room. IF Bruce Gregory was a cat, he'd only have five lives left. The 58-year-old says the fireball which tore apart his Wandong home was not his most terrifying moment, but it was a close call. Mr Gregory, who has attended numerous fires as a former CFA member, lost four of his own vehicles and three belonging to customers. He said he was fighting to save another house when a fireball jumped 30m trees and exploded on his back veranda. ''My son screamed at me so I ran back to help,'' he said. The pair took sanctuary in the house, fighting the flames room by room battle. ''We were screaming at each other and neighbours thought we were dying, but we were trying to stay together and kept on closing doors as needed,'' he said. Mr Gregory's biggest horror was when his hold on son Danny's hand slipped. The pair were reunited and they escaped through a window. Despite the danger, Mr Gregory says a car crash in 2002 was much worse. ''I blacked out at the wheel, hit a concrete pole and my heart stopped,'' he said. ''I was revived by a paramedic and airlifted to hospital.'' In the late 1970s, Mr Gregory was trapped under a stalled fire truck as a news helicopter created a draft that kept a lethal fire at bay. Three years ago he fell off a ladder breaking his fibula and tibia. When he stood up in shock, causing one of the bones to burst through his leg. ''Every minute of life you have to live and enjoy what's thrown at you,'' he said. Colleagues report from the eye of the fire storm The bushfire tragedy is close to home for many Sydneysiders. Victorian communities represented by eight newspapers from our sister group in Melbourne, Leader Newspapers, were embroiled in the tragedy. Here, BARRY KENNEDY, of the Whittlesea Leader, meets two survivors. your community news from burwood council wood Council is preparing to take a step back in time for tage Week 2009 uncil is presenting a day of heritage and memories on urday 18th April. Residents are invited to come along and oy unravelling Burwood's proud history; from when it was oclaimed in 1874, right up to today. ritage Week 2009 will also include: A spine chilling graveyard tour Guided heritage walks Residents delivering fascinating accounts of the past Photos from yesteryear ...Fun entertainment PLUS, Council is calling for nominations for its Heritage Awards Visit www.burwood.nsw.gov.au for more information on eligibility and entry conditions. 2029732i iww wk3
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