Without help from SES, her house might not be standing
ALLESE Crompton left for work on Sunday from her Lake Mary property like she would on any other regular day, but to her shock she received a call at 1pm from her daughter in Calliope to tell her there were fires near her property on Old Byfield Rd.
“I had no clue, I couldn’t see anything, couldn’t smell anything, had I known I wouldn’t have left, I just couldn't comprehend it,” Allese said.
Normally a 40 minute drive home from her work in Rockhampton, she panicked and had no idea what was going on.
She got home only to be stopped by emergency services who had already blocked her road.
All she had was the clothes on her back.
“To be met at the intersection and not the able to go through just killed me, I tried so hard to get home for the animals,” she said.
Her concerns about her animals were alleviated by the compassionate help of the SES.
“They were so caring, so thoughtful, while we were so frantic they kept us under control,” she said.
The SES went out of their way and told Allese they had locked her poultry away, let their $20,000 prize bull out of his pen, put in fire breaks, shut the shed doors and made sure the dogs had water.
“They put themselves in danger to help us,” she said.
Standing at the blockade, Allese and her neighbours watched the fire come over the hill into the corner of Preston Rd.
They were told white smoke meant it was vegetation and black meant it was a house or sheds.
Not being able to see her house was a horrific sight.
“It was absolutely gut wrenching,” she said.
“Knowing the timber and grass just lying out there, it was going to ignite.
“My heart was just sinking, not knowing what is going on.”
Allese’ husband was at work in Dysart as was her daughter who lives on the property in another house.
They made it back to Yeppoon by 7pm on Saturday night and were able to go back home at 10.30 on Tuesday morning.
Driving up the hill driveway surrounded by burnt paddocks, they didn’t know what to expect.
But there was the house, still standing and Allese broke down in tears.
“I know it’s just a house and there are so many things that are replaceable, but it’s stuff that makes a family,” she said.
“We are so much luckier than a lot of people and we are fortunate we didn’t lose everything.”
The only damage was to water tanks and some chickens were lost.
“They (SES) went in and closed our sheds and if they didn’t it could have been a diferrent story … had the shed been open we would have been in a lot more trouble,” she said.
In an effort to give back to those who saved her property, Allese and her daughter have been handing out ice blocks.
“We didn’t know what to do and how to give back to the people still out there fighting the fires,” she said.
“It’s only little but it’s something and they appreciated it.”
The community support has blown Allese over.
“It’s just crazy, there is no feeling, you feel so hopeless, lost and displaced and there’s people willing to give up what they have to help you,” she said.
“The help and offers from the community, people they don’t even know and donating money to help pay for food for cattle.’
In a 5km radius Allese knows of at least half a dozen homes that were lost.
“I know it’s not over yet for a lot of people but for us there is nothing left to burn,” she said.
“The fireys are amazing humans, I don’t know how they do it, we’re breathing the smoke here at our place and coughing, these guys are at the forefront of it all.”