'I thought they were dead’: Dramatic firestorm footage

 

Veteran firefighter Brett Miller has fought off fires that took 500 homes and killed four people and it wasn't as bad as the firestorm that ripped through his Wytaliba commune on Friday afternoon.

The 52-year-old was has been a firefighter for 18 years and fought in Canberra in 2003.

In the heat of the fire storm on Friday heading to save two of his beloved friends with two junior firefighters in his truck was the most scared he has ever been.

Mr Miller was captured in dramatic vision by Wytaliba commune resident and rookie firey Nessie Leishman.

Brett Miller driving through the firestorm. Picture: Supplied
Brett Miller driving through the firestorm. Picture: Supplied

Mr Miller was driving the fire truck on the western road, with firefighter Lukas Smola in the passenger seat, and Ms Leishman in the back.

Only Mr Miller can be heard as the Ms Leishman filmed the firestorm engulfing everything around them.

"We got a call from fire comm that the fire was impacting Marty and Jenny Tonk's place," he said.

"I took our Cat 7 fire truck and raced up the western road and the fire was spotting all over the Wytaliba property.

"It was on both sides of the road, visibility was down to 20m, that dropped to 5m very quickly.

Bushfires ripped through the small community of Wytaliba on Friday. Photo: Adam Yip
Bushfires ripped through the small community of Wytaliba on Friday. Photo: Adam Yip

"Then all of sudden with fire on both sides of us a tree falls right down in front of us.

"I had to pull up very quickly and the tyres screeched.

"I called fire comm and told them 'we can't get to the Tonks', we have a firestorm."

Mr Miller choked up and cried as he said he couldn't save commune residents the Tonks and he expected they were going to die.

"It was f*cking bad up there and I thought they were dead, it was tough because they are dear friends of mine," he said.

 

A fire-devastated home in the small community of Wytaliba. Photo: Adam Yip
A fire-devastated home in the small community of Wytaliba. Photo: Adam Yip

 

The Tonks were being battered by the fire at their home.

Their windows were blown out and they called fire comms for help.

They followed instructions and used a wet blanket and sheltered behind a tanker for about three hours.

After it blew over they walked over smoking grounds for help.

"They aren't coming back here," Mr Miller said.

"Which is tough because they have lived here for 35 years but they just can't come back here."

 



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