Northmead Fire

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for International Development and the Pacific and Assistant Defence Minister) (10:39): Today I rise to speak about and thank those who assisted at a major fire which occurred recently within my electorate of Mitchell.

On Sunday 29 November, during a weekend of sweltering heatwave conditions that Sydneysiders will remember, a fire began at Water Dragon Way in Moxham Park stretching from Winston Hills through to Northmead. Homes on Whitehaven Road were immediately affected, and embers ignited onto a heritage listed house. Residents will remember the winds that weekend, with gusts of up to 100 kilometres an hour recorded at the height of the fire as it spread aggressively and quickly throughout my electorate in Northmead. Sixteen fire trucks, a waterbombing aircraft and 100 firefighters responded to this fire and controlled the blaze by late afternoon. Many homes were at risk, but, thanks to the efforts of firefighters, locals and citizens, only one house received actual fire damage.

I want to commend and thank Fire and Rescue NSW RP 57—Rescue Pump Wentworthville—together with 15 other Fire and Rescue NSW brigades and the North Rocks Rural Fire Service, who were so quick to respond to this dire emergency in these dire conditions at 10 Whitehaven Road, Northmead. I also want to thank Rescue Pump Wentworthville, who were first on the scene and returned the following day; P58, Pump Beecroft; T94, Tanker Kellyville; Amy Andrew and Chris Langshaw; P94 Pump Kellyville Station Commander Bill Devereaux; David Winchcombe and Josh English; AP97 Aerial Pump Huntingwood; P96 Pump Scofield Station; pumps Guilford and Parramatta; CAFS; pumps Smithfield, Eastwood, Cabramatta, Seven Hills, Horningsea Park, Silverwater; and the bulk tanker from Hornsby.

Fire and Rescue NSW were ably supported by the Rural Fire Service from North Rocks, and 11 hours and seven minutes after the time the emergency was called, the fire was blacked out, with Fire and Rescue NSW looking actively to extinguish hotspots until the evening. The fire was completely extinguished 24 hours after the initial call after those 45-degree days. From a day of extreme fire conditions, I also thank 67 Baulkham Hills station commander and firefighters as they were at a fire in Epping.

To the residents, who went above and beyond, helping their neighbours and the properties—I was texting with people in the street as it was occurring. I want to make particular mention of the Campbell-Rogers family, who that morning had discussed their bushfire plan with Chris, their dad, who is paraplegic and in a wheelchair, with limited mobility. They got him out and they got their mum out, but the three teenage children, Eleanor and the twins, Erica and Peter, decided that, if there was time, they would assist with putting out spot fires before evacuating. With 100-kilometre-an-hour gusts and the fire raging down a bush corridor opposite their house, they evacuated their dad and then hosed down neighbouring properties and doused spot fires when they saw them before the firefighters were able to take over.

I want to thank them. I want to thank everyone in that street who helped each other out. That's the great Aussie spirit. I want to take the opportunity to say: get your bushfire plan ready for this summer, and look after each other as this family ably did for our community.