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NYMBOIDA: 10 incredible stories from the fire ground

WHEN a devastating bushfire tore through the Nymboida region, it made front page headlines. We take a look back at some of these incredible stories covered by The Daily Examiner.    

Louise Hankinson and husband Tyrone Dungey at home with one of their daughters Annabel
Louise Hankinson and husband Tyrone Dungey at home with one of their daughters Annabel

WHEN Tyrone Dungey was battling an unstoppable fire storm ripping through Nymboida last year, the one person critical to ensuring his valiant efforts could save lives and homes wasn't on the fire ground, they weren't even in the Rural Fire Service.

Anxiously waiting to hear news of the village she knew intimately was Nymboida Primary School teacher Louise Hankinson, waiting for updates from her husband. Which homes had been impacted?

Was the school still standing?  

Read more: The real unsung heroes of firefighting effort    

 

GDSC general manager Nathan Whiteside, Nymboida RFS captain Paul Johnston and The Daily Examiner editor Bill North joined 2GF presenter Richie Williamson on air to launch the Clarence Christmas Bushfire Appeal on Monday, 25th November, 2019.
GDSC general manager Nathan Whiteside, Nymboida RFS captain Paul Johnston and The Daily Examiner editor Bill North joined 2GF presenter Richie Williamson on air to launch the Clarence Christmas Bushfire Appeal on Monday, 25th November, 2019. Jenna Thompson

NYMBOIDA Rural Fire Service captain Paul Johnston has fought bush fires for decades.

Like the thousands of interstate and international firefighters who have assisted local crews battle ongoing blazes in the Clarence Valley over the past four months, he has travelled to lend support in some of the country's worst bushfire disasters.

But nothing could prepare him for the night of Friday, November 8, 2019, when hell itself arrived on the doorstep of his own community.  

Read more: RFS captain recalls night hell paid a visit    

 

Rachel Sloan, Odin Sage, Shiann Broderick at Market Square before the School Strike 4 Climate.
Rachel Sloan, Odin Sage, Shiann Broderick at Market Square before the School Strike 4 Climate. Tim Jarrett

SHIANN Broderick had already been a key part of the School Strike movement, and then she lost her family home at Nymboida.

The devastating loss gave rise to a renewed sense of determination as, just days after the fires, the teenager embarked on a 10-hour train journey to address protesters at a Solidarity Sit-down in Sydney.

"It definitely made me more determined to keep fighting because of what has happened to not only me but my community and other communities as well," she said.

Read more: Nymboida teen determined to make people listen    

 

Cinders the cat has made a miraculous recovery after surviving the Nymboida fire
Cinders the cat has made a miraculous recovery after surviving the Nymboida fire

SHE was discovered cowering in a chicken shed days after the blaze had swept through.

A small black cat traumatised by what she endured during Nymboida's firestorm which destroyed 85 homes.

"It took them another couple of days to coax her out and when they finally caught her, they brought her straight to us," Riverbank Animal Hospital vet nurse Claudia Fraser said.

"The poor little thing was in a pretty bad way."  

Read more: Lovable cat's face burnt but feline survives firestorm

 

Simon Porter's Nymboida property was destroyed by fire in November.
Simon Porter's Nymboida property was destroyed by fire in November.

ON NOVEMBER 8 it was business as usual for Simon Porter, who hopped in his car and headed out to work a night shift.

When he next came home he was walking through a blackened mess and staring down the barrel of financial ruin.

The Nymboida resident lost everything except his car that night and had made up his mind to sell up and leave the Glens Creek Rd property he bought nearly a decade ago.

Read more: Losing everything was not enough    

 

Before and after photo of Sammie Dobbs Frickers Road holiday home that was destroyed by Nymboida fires.
Before and after photo of Sammie Dobbs Frickers Road holiday home that was destroyed by Nymboida fires.

SAMMIE Dobbs described her last week as "interesting". Somehow, the verb doesn't seem even to begin to scratch the surface.

The Central Coast single mother lost her "little gypsy house" on Frickers Road, Nymboida in the devastating fires.

Horrific enough, except for the fact she then evacuated her own home as fires raced through the national parks on the Central Coast.

Read more: POSITIVE: Fire double trouble leads to positive response    

 

The Liberation Trail fire devastated the landscape around the Orara Valley.
The Liberation Trail fire devastated the landscape around the Orara Valley. Cyndi Zoranovic

WITH the 140,000ha Liberation Trail bushfire bearing down on him Tuesday afternoon, John Malcolm was adamant he was not going to leave the house he built 30 years ago.

As the fire edged closer to the Nana Glen property, Mr Maclolm's wife Cheryl, a WIRES rescue worker, spent from Saturday to Monday relocating rescue animals in preparation for the onslaught of the fire. 

Mr Malcolm was on the roof when the dead silence was broken by what sounded like a freight train. 

Read more: Miraculous escape from 20m wall of flames

 

 

Deosa Wholefoods owner Sophie Ramos holds one of the feathered survivors from the bushfires that destroyed several Nymboida properties at the weekend.
Deosa Wholefoods owner Sophie Ramos holds one of the feathered survivors from the bushfires that destroyed several Nymboida properties at the weekend. Adam Hourigan

IF you had just one hour to pack up your home and evacuate from a bushfire, what would you take?

For the Ramos family of Deosa Wholefoods in Grafton, it was an easy choice: their animals. But after securing their sheep, dogs and cat for the journey, time had run out.

The Ramos family were faced with the difficult decision to either stay and rescue their 50 chickens or leave them behind at their Nymboida property. 

Read more: Sophie's choice: 'I didn't want to leave them'    

 

Photos taken by local firefighter
Photos taken by local firefighter "Grubby" White fighting fires in the Coutts region.

IN a Facebook post that went viral, firefighter Grubby White makes an emotional assessment of what he and other firefighters had faced battling blazes in the areas near Coutts Crossing and Nymboida.

He also paid tribute to the members of community he came in contact with, and how they came together to battle a common enemy.  

Read his emotional post here    

 

 

 

DESPITE rumours to the contrary, the Nymboida Camping and Canoeing Centre was left standing, bar one shed, and became a focal point for the community as they came to terms with the damage and prepared for difficult days ahead.

Read more: Nymboida Canoe Centre stands as hub for devastated community    

Nymboida Camping and Canoeing after the blaze passed through the area last night. November 9, 2019.
Nymboida Camping and Canoeing after the blaze passed through the area last night. November 9, 2019. Emma Ocholla