George Budge (left) and Jim Shack rush to contain the bushfire at Woodbury yesterday.
George Budge (left) and Jim Shack rush to contain the bushfire at Woodbury yesterday.

Homes saved from blaze

By JOSEPH TERNOWETSKY.

PAUL Jowsey yesterday swapped media heat for a real fire when he came to a Woodbury neighbour's aid.

He had been under intense public scrutiny for complaining about the use of the word Christmas.

But that took second place yesterday as he battled to save homes with other volunteer firefighters.

"You've entered the depths of hell,'' he shouted as he rushed across a Woodvale Park Road property with a shovel in hand.

Mr Jowsey, who complained to Yeppoon State School for finding the word Christmas offensive, was not the only neighbour fighting the blaze northwest of Yeppoon.

About 10 neighbours were lending a hand.

George Budge, 59, was the first on scene.

I was interviewing Mr Budge about another story when the fire flared.

He cut me off mid-sentence and pointed up to a mass of thick, grey smoke billowing from his neighbour's property.

"We've got to get over there,'' he said as we rushed into the car.

Pulling up at the property, Mr Budge hopped out of the car, grabbed a water hose and rushed over to a six-metre high bushfire, just metres away from a tractor.

The owner of the home, Alison Shackleton, was at work when one of her neighbours called and told her the property was being threatened.

"It's so great they came and helped out,'' she said, her face beet red from the heat.

None of her property was damaged.

Cooberrie, Adelaide Park, Woodbury and Yeppoon fire brigades were quickly on scene and contained the blaze.

Another property's shed located beside Ms Shackleton's home was slightly damaged.

The owner Pauline Love said she saw the fire flare up and quickly move towards her home.

"It was quite frightening,'' she said.

"The wind just caught it.''

Yesterday the heat and wind caused eight bushfires in the Central region.

The cause of the Woodvale Park Road fire was being investigated.

District inspector for the rural operations Laurie Colgrave said the blaze was most likely caused by dry conditions.

"Crews are still monitoring the area,'' he said.



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