How a tweet saved the life of pensioners trapped in steel shed during bushfire

It's an incredible escape!

An 83-year-old man and his wife were saved by a last-minute Tweet from his daughter to the fire service after they were sheltering in a steel shed during a bushfire.

As the devastating fires raged in Busbys Flat in northern NSW, 83-year-old John Duncan and his wife Cassie took refuge in their steel shed and John called his daughter Carol Duncan to let her know.

‘At 3pm, my dad called me quite distressed because they’d been told they could no longer evacuate,’ said Carol. ‘They said they would shelter in his large shed. I asked him to go over the road to the school but he said the school wasn’t open and “the shed is steel, it won’t burn.'”

Carol with her dad John Duncan. (Credit: Go Fund Me.)

But after years of bushfire training, Carol knew that the heat of the fire would mean that anything in the shed would burn. Terrified for her dad and his wife’s lives, she sent a Tweet to NSW RFS. Jumping into action, they asked where he lived and sent a truck to go and pick up them up and take them to the safety of a school.

‘When I spoke with dad after they’d taken him to the school, he told me “they’d lost everything but the shed”. But I now know the shed was also incinerated,’ said Carol. 

She shared a message she went to Rob from NSW RFS thanking them for picking up her father saying, ‘if I hadn’t sent you that tweet, they’d still be in the shed.’

Carol reiterated that people must take the evacuation warnings from the NSW RFS seriously before it’s too late. 

Carol thanked the fire service for saving her dad. (Credit: Go Fund Me.)

She has now started a Go Fund Me to raise money for her dad and the other people affected by the fires in northern NSW. As many as 20 properties have been lost in the fires in the village of Rappville, NSW, as well as one in Laidley, Queensland, where another fast-moving fire forced the evacuation of 60 homes.

Describing how her dad moved from Canberra in 2004 after devastating fires there ‘not wanting to go through it again’ but now he’s lost everything, ‘including his walking stick.’

Related stories