“Absolute nightmare”

“Absolute nightmare”

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Roleystone Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade chief Noel Plowman said many property owners still had high fuel loads on their properties. Photograph — Kelly Pilgrim-Byrne.

National Volunteers Week presented an opportunity for the City of Armadale to acknowledge the hard work of volunteers in the city who sacrifice time and effort.

Noel Plowman is one local who has volunteered with the Roleystone Bushfire Brigade since 1980 and continues to save homes and lives every year.

“I’ve been a member since 1980 and that came about because I was building my house at the time in Roleystone and my neighbour came out one morning and asked if I was busy because he needed a hand fighting a bushfire,” he said.

“So I went with him and six hours later I got back after fighting a bushfire and I got a buzz out of it, so I joined the brigade and I’ve been a member ever since.”

During the nightmare bushfires in the Kelmscott and Roleystone hills in 2011, Mr Plowman was the captain of the Roleystone Brigade.

“It was my absolute nightmare, when we first got there we spent about forty minutes trying to stop the fire and we thought we did,” he said.

“Just as we thought it was out, a neighbour came and yelled out that there was a fire threatening her house and we got there minutes too late, it had hit some grass and away it went.

“The fire did all the damage in just over two hours.”

Volunteering for the brigade has given Mr Plowman a sense of friendship and comradeship that he feels he couldn’t find elsewhere.

“I get a lot of enjoyment out of the comradeship,” he said.

“Everything we do in firefighting is teamwork related so when we go out to a fire we’re relying on the whole team to protect each other.

“When we go out to fight a fire, whilst someone is concentrating putting water on the fire we have people watching where the smoke is, helping and checking the hoses.

“It’s all a lot of team work.”