‘I’ve never seen anything like this and don’t want to again’

HELP: Bomaderry man Ned Ashley (centre) is taken away from the Bomaderry fire by friends at the height of Wednesday’s emergency situation suffering smoke inhalation.
HELP: Bomaderry man Ned Ashley (centre) is taken away from the Bomaderry fire by friends at the height of Wednesday’s emergency situation suffering smoke inhalation.

“That is the most scariest thing I have ever seen.”

That was Bomaderry resident Ned Ashley’s take on Wednesday’s fire.

Mr Ashley was right in the middle of it, fighting the approaching West Cambewarra Road North Nowra fire as it raced towards homes at Bomaderry fronting the Princes Highway which backed onto the Narang Road bushland.

Along with his mate Christian Pederson they attempted to stop the fire before it hit their home.

They used hoses to wet the roof of a shed, which was eventually lost in the blaze, along with various motorbikes and car engines and parts.

At the height of the emergency Mr Ashley was taken from the location and treated for smoke inhalation.

At the time he didn’t know if the granny flat he lived in at the rear of the property survived.

As he was taken to awaiting emergency services for treatment he was sure the house was “gone.”

Through incredible work by the NSW Fire and Rescue and Rural Fire Service Crews the house along with many others and businesses in that stretch of road were saved.

Surveying the aftermath and damage on Thursday morning, Mr Ashley said the conditions and experience “was terrible.”

ALIVE AND WELL: Ned Ashley back at his Bomaderry home on Thursday morning surveying the damage from Wednesday’s fire.

ALIVE AND WELL: Ned Ashley back at his Bomaderry home on Thursday morning surveying the damage from Wednesday’s fire.

“I’ve never been in that situation before and never want to again. I’ve got so much respect for the firies,” he said.

“All this material stuff is replaceable,” he said pointing at the destroyed shed and damaged property “but lives aren’t - I’m so glad the firies were here when they were.”

He said they first noticed smoke coming from bushland and piles of mulch at the rear of the property mid morning.

“We’ve had a few fires down in that bush near the Bomaderry tennis courts over the past few weeks,” he said.

“An ember must have got into that mulch and within seconds it was away.

“We were on the shed with the hoses trying to hose everything down, within seconds we had to get down off there and go.

“It just roared up here like a freight train. It was incredible.

It just roared up here like a freight train. It was incredible. I have never seen anything like that before and never want to again - scary, scary stuff.

Bomaderry resident Ned Ashley

“I have never seen anything like that before and never want to again - scary, scary stuff.”

Mr Ashley collapsed soon after, overcome by smoke, and thanked the police officer who “grabbed” him and “took him out of the situation.”

“I don’t know who it was but I thank him,” he said.

Friends also came to his aid, assisting him to a nearby ambulance where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

“I was on oxygen for about an hour,” he said.

“Just so scared, not being able to breath. Just so scary.”

The fire actually lapped at the roof of his flat at the rear of the property.

“It came into the laundry and actually melted my washing machine,” he said.

“It jumped onto the roof and got into the eaves, without the firies the whole lot would have gone.”

He returned to the property later in the afternoon after the emergency situation eased but said it remained a scary situation.

“I didn’t get much sleep Wednesday night,” he said “too scared to. It’s just so scary.

“Never want to see this happen to anyone.”

We are in August, we are still in winter, what’s summer going to be like? It’s just outrageous. It’s crazy. I just pray for everyone out there, just stay safe and vigilant.