Volunteer in tears over claim firefighters ‘failed’ town
An emotional Rural Fire Service volunteer has broken down live on radio, saying he is "offended" at the suggestion fireys "failed" to save the NSW town of Balmoral.
The town of 400 was hit hard by the raging bushfires over the weekend, with an unknown number of homes lost. There are 150 homes in the town.
An RFS member named Greg teared up as he spoke to John Stanley on Sydney's 2GB this morning.
"It was horrific, it was horrific," Greg said of the conditions he experienced in the town southwest of Sydney.
"I can only speak for me, I'd rather not speak for my crewmates, but the suggestion by the Premier and the media … Balmoral has not been wiped off the map. It is not almost gone. It is all still there.
"The suggestion that we failed in defending that village … I don't know how the other guys take that, but me, personally, I'm quite offended at the suggestion that we lost that village because we didn't.
"I had mates hospitalised."
Greg was referring to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian's comments about Balmoral yesterday, when she said "there's not much left" there.
"I'm very sad to hear that, and many residents, of course, have had that news in the last little while," Ms Berejiklian told reporters yesterday.
NSW Rural Fire Service deputy commissioner Rob Rogers said it was too early to know how many homes had been lost over the weekend, but he suspected it was close to 100.
It's understood about 40 of those are in Balmoral.
In a press conference today, Ms Berejiklian said communities including Dargon and Balmoral ravaged by bushfires could "take years to rebuild".
She added that RFS volunteers had "all the resources they need".
"We have made sure our emergency services personnel have all the resources they need, whether it is equipment, whether it is support, whether it is counselling services, whatever is required to support them," she said.