Residents have described scenes resembling an atomic bomb blast as they packed children into cars to escape a blaze that destroyed three homes and threatened many more at Warrandyte in Melbourne’s northeast.
Hundreds of people packed a school hall in neighbouring Park Orchards on Sunday night where residents heard how fire destroyed three homes and damaged another.
Marisa Dantanarayana, who lives in the street where the fire started, said she left on Sunday afternoon after seeing smoke.
“I’d just got home after being out with my kids and I just smelt smoke … I saw billowing smoke and I just knew it was so close that we had to get out,” she said.
The fire started in the the middle of a residential area about 1pm and burned within a 10 hectare area.
During the meeting several residents thanked the local Country Fire Authority for their efforts, inspiring loud applause.
Ms Dantanarayana said the actions of the CFA probably saved her home.
“They (the CFA) were there so quickly … they had 52 trucks right in our street area, that’s just unbelievable, they do a fantastic job,” she said.
Bijal Latham said her parents live in Warrandyte and left their home as soon as they saw the fire from their backyard.
“Mum and dad saw it and everything just went up and it looked like an atomic bomb had just been dropped,” Ms Latham said.
Sara Longo could see flames about 400 metres from her home and said she left with her two children.
“I was in the pool and I was swimming with one of my sons and I could see the smoke and the flames,” she said.
“I just got my kids, I had to get dry and got dressed, get in the car and get out.”