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A rapid “touch base” phone call with Jimmie from Fiddlesticks Papercrafts reveals he and Barbie are safe – that it was “close, but we are alright”.

Given the proximity of their home to the Kilmore fire fronts, this is a great relief.

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For those of you who know Pamela Gurney from Dancing Needle Designs, I can report that she and her family is, at this stage, safe.

I was able to talk to her at some length last night and she has been overwhelmed with messages and calls from friends and customers from all over the country.

Your thoughts and concern are greatly appreciated.

If you have not had reply from her, please understand that resources like phone links are under enormous pressure and much of the local infrastructure like mobile phone repeater towers have been lost.

The past 24 hours have been harrowing for many, the loss of life and property has been on a scale never before experienced in Victoria.

Personally I have had a day I would rather forget as my exhusband was severely injured fighting the fire that flared in Ferntree Gully yesterday. Surgery to repair four spinal fractures has taken place today and it is reported he has feeling and movement in all limbs so there is great relief all round.

He has been a CFA volunteer fire fighter for the best part of the last 20 years and has attended many dangerous and devasting fires in that time.  It is hard to reconcile the feeling of helplessness you feel when events like this take place, especially knowing that people of his calibre are out there risking everything for the welfare of others.  The hospital staff are calling him a hero – he’s denying it.  Every one of those men and women out there risking themselves on our behalf are heroes.

This time it was someone I knew who has paid for his selflessness and commitment to his community.  We should all be thankful to them.

This horror is by no means over yet – friends are unaware if they have a home to go to; others are trapped in their homes in Kinglake unable to get away if the fire changes direction and the fires are nowhere near under control.

My thoughts are with those who have lost family and friends.majfireman_gallery__600x391This is one of many pictures taken of the volunteers who risk their lives – many more like this as well as video footage can be viewed on The Age website

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