'Sky was red': Peregian remembers fires one year on
A burning sky and devastating reports of lives lost are what Coast MP Dan Purdie remembers of the night Peregian burned one year ago.
The Ninderry MP was manning a Coolum refuge centre as residents scrambled to flee their homes in September last year.
"I remember that night," Mr Purdie said.
"Just looking north here, the sky was red there were reports coming through, people arriving saying 'there's houses on fire' so we were just expecting the worst.
"We were expecting to wake up at dawn and have lost lives and property."
Fortunately no lives were lost, but memories of the destruction are vivid for the Peregian community.
One year on, residents united for a day of celebration on Saturday for the Peregian Fires Anniversary Family Fun Day.
"We're here for the one year anniversary of those horrific fires, and we're all reminded of the great work these guys (fireys) did on that night to legitimately save the whole community really, save lives and property," Mr Purdie said.
Event organiser Leigh McCready said the day was the perfect opportunity to raise funds towards a new shed for the Verrierdale Rural Fire Brigade.
Having just received a new truck, she said the fireys had no choice but to store the vehicle in the station's training room.
"It's fantastic that they have got this new truck because the previous trucks were quite small," she said.
"But the truck came a bit earlier than expected, so they don't have anywhere to put it.
"We saw a magnificent effort from all our fireys a year ago, it's coming up to fire season again now and we want them to be as prepared as they possibly can be."
Mr Purdie surprised the fundraising team on Saturday by announcing a $30,000 donation towards the shed, if the LNP is elected on October 31.
"I was happy to arrive today and tell them whatever they don't make, up to $50,000, that an LNP government and I, if elected on the 31st of October, will fund that $30,000," he said.
"Even the community to raise $20,000 is a lot of money now, considering it's a tough time to be raising money, people don't have spare cash.
"To raise $20,000 is a big feat, to raise another $30,000 would be another big feat, so that's why I was proud to announce that we would fund that remaining $30,000."
Mr Purdie said the new shed would go a long way in helping the region be more prepared for this fire season.
"We all got to see on that night the work that these guys do, and they are local heroes, so it's good to be here and help raise the money and contribute," he said.