AWAY FIRES
AWAY FIRES

Gould siblings battle Batlow inferno to save homes

Three children defended their home against deadly bushfires which devastated properties in their historic town known as Australia's apple capital.

Exhausted, the trio recounted on Sunday how they joined their father to save the family home in the devastated apple capital town of Batlow.

Their dad Jamie Gould ignored orders to evacuate and instead worked to save his Bonza Cres home while his 16-year-old son Jack hosed down spot fires on their neighbour's lawn.

Jamie Gould and Frank Thatcher worked together to save several houses using buckets. Picture: Rohan Kelly
Jamie Gould and Frank Thatcher worked together to save several houses using buckets. Picture: Rohan Kelly


At the time Jack's two younger siblings Rayleigh, 14, and Riley, 13, were standing watch over the family's plant nursery before they were forced to bunker down amid gas explosions which rocked the township.

The Gould children L-R: Rayleigh, 14, Riley, 13, and Jack, 16, out the front of their house on Sunday. Picture: Rohan Kelly
The Gould children L-R: Rayleigh, 14, Riley, 13, and Jack, 16, out the front of their house on Sunday. Picture: Rohan Kelly

Mr Gould said when his son later checked whether his girlfriend's nearby house was still standing, the shed was fully ablaze and the home's roof corner was on fire.

"I got this garden hose from the neighbours and I could pee harder, to be honest. Jack was on the roof and I'm passing buckets up to him," Mr Gould said.

Later, the three kids took shelter in a neighbour's bunker when 90kg gas bottles exploded at a property directly opposite.

"Some windows shattered on the side of the house, the bang was just so loud," Rayleigh said.

"My heart was beating so fast."

The Gould siblings stand at the point where the fire reached on Saturday night. Picture: Rohan Kelly
The Gould siblings stand at the point where the fire reached on Saturday night. Picture: Rohan Kelly

During the onslaught Jack posted terrifying videos of a nearby forest engulfed by flames to social media while standing on top of their water tank.

"F*** I feel that heat from here … it's just at the fence," he posted on Instagram.

"Round 4. Bruhh … it's calm then blasts again!"

The nightmare is far from over for the battlers of Batlow, a village in the state's southwest which was surrounded by a mega-blaze that authorities warned couldn't be stopped on Saturday.

A 47-year-old Goulburn man died of a heart attack trying to save a mate's home on the town's outskirts while exhausted firefighters and locals scrambled to battle blazes in the smoke-choked evacuated streets.

Explosions from a flaming fuel station were still rocking the town at sunrise while many structures and charred trees were smouldering at midday on Sunday.


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