WA Fire and Emergency Services Awards: Kalbarri Volunteer Fire and Rescue win team achievement gong
After cyclone Seroja hit, Len Simmons didn’t see his house in the daylight for five days.
His story is just one from the Kalbarri Volunteer Fire and Rescue Brigade which, along with Marine Rescue Jurien Bay and Carnarvon SES, was recognised at Saturday’s WA Fire and Emergency Services Awards.
In the wake of Seroja, Mr Simmons and his team of 34 put in 1298 hours of work over three weeks, assisting the local SES with their work, much of which fell well outside the comfort zone of a fire brigade.
“Every member had damage to their own property,” Mr Simmons, the brigade’s captain, said.
He recounted a story of a couple who were members of the brigade.
“The whole front of their house was ripped off,” he said.
Yet they arrived at the station at 8am the next day and started work to assist others. Mr Simmons only found out about their situation three days later and told them to go home, which they refused.
“There were some extraordinary displays of dedication,” he said.
While his team were happy to have won in the firefighting team achievement category, he believes Kalbarri SES was snubbed on the night. Its team of 15 were nominated in the SES team achievement award, but fell short of winning. “I can’t believe they didn’t win ... the amount of work they put in, for months on end,” he said.
Marine Rescue Jurien Bay won the Department of Transport award for excellence, while Carnarvon SES young gun James Cotter earned the youth achievement award.
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