Terry Stewart and his dogs Benji and Mipsy sit it out at the Cawarral Community Hall after being evacuated.
Terry Stewart and his dogs Benji and Mipsy sit it out at the Cawarral Community Hall after being evacuated. Adrian Taylor

Terry flees the fierce flames

FOR a man who had been forced by police to leave his home, Terry Stewart was incredibly relaxed yesterday.

“I'm pretty sure it's just a precaution and I'm very confident everything will be all right,” he said.

Terry whiled the day away sitting in the shade of a tree outside Cawarral Community Hall with his dogs Benji and Mipsy.

His was one of six households in New Zealand Gully Road to be evacuated yesterday morning because firefighters could no longer guarantee the properties could be protected from the bushfire.

“It wasn't a request, it was an instruction and I'd been expecting it.

“We'd been on standby for two days and I'd been watching the smoke get closer and closer.”

He said he was already packed and ready to leave, but he had to decide whether to free his 30 caged birds or leave them in harm's way.

“In the end I left them there because if I let them out they would be killed by the wild birds.

“I hope they will be there when I get back.”

His wife was at work and two children at school when the evacuation order was issued.

“We knew it was coming, but it's a bit of a shock when they tell you to go.”

Terry said he'd lived in the house for 15 years and knew some of his neighbours didn't want to leave.

“Those who have been there longer said they had seen worse fires and that they were sure they would be all right.”

He was sure he would be back home in time for tea.

But his confidence was misplaced.

Last night the fire service confirmed only one of the six households had been allowed to return.



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