Tag Archives: firebugs

Flash fiction on Indies Unlimited

I couldn’t resist this particular flash fiction topic. The picture and the prompt really struck a nerve with me :

firebug pic

Now he knew why the old man was always yelling at him for playing with matches.

He stood well back but could feel the heat even from this distance. He could hear the crackles and groans as the walls of the old place swayed and buckled.

He was afraid, but invigorated. This would change everything. What would happen now? He could hear the sirens wailing in the distance. There might be trouble, but there would be no more beatings.

In 250 words or less, tell us a story incorporating the elements in the picture.

This is my effort. To read the other entries or to write your own, please click this link. It will take you to Indies Unlimited.

* * *

CFA Chief Geoff Baker and his team were the first to arrive, their big red fire-truck screeching to a halt a safe distance from the massive bonfire that had once been a house.

“Bloody hell,” the Chief muttered as his team swung into action. This was going to be bad.

In the end it took four CFA teams to put the fire out, but they did manage to save the neighbouring houses. No-one could have saved the old man who lived in the smoking ruin of the old weatherboard.

According to the neighbours, the old man liked his beer and was rarely sober.

The one piece of good news was that the old man’s grandson would be at school. But who would look after the poor kid now?

The crews were still stabilizing the wreckage so the police could go in when a shout went up, “Over here!”

Like all old houses in country towns, this one had had an outdoor dunny, and that was where they found the boy.

“You’ll be okay now son,’ the Chief said as he lifted the trembling child into his arms.

The boy, who looked to be no more than six or seven, did not have a scratch on him, but there was a strange, almost exultant look on his face as he said, “When I grow up I’m going to be a fireman!”

* * *

For non-Australians, the CFA are volunteer fire-fighters in rural areas. ‘Dunny’ is a very aussie word for the old outdoor toilets we used to have. They were freezing in winter and often full of redbacks [poisonous spiders] in summer. Thank god for technology!

Firebug? Or some kind of stupid?

CFA map, 26/1/2013

CFA map, 26/1/2013

Warrandyte earned its first ‘Watch and Act’ this morning thanks to two separate bushfires in the Wonga Park area. The CFA map shows the position of the last fire to be brought under control. It’s still not completely safe but as rain is predicted for tonight, we can all start breathing again.

The reason we were placed under Watch and Act was, I think, because both fires are located in state parks/reserves that follow the Yarra River as it snakes its way towards Warrandyte. If we had had an easterly wind, it would have pushed the fire right at us. Thank goodness it’s a cool day with very little wind.

But how did two separate fires begin in parkland on a cool day with no lightning?

That is the question, especially in view of the Kangaroo Ground fires of recent weeks. I hate to sound alarmist, but my money is on a firebug who thinks it’s great fun to watch people shitting themselves.

I may be wrong but if these fires are not the work of a nutter, then we must have some very stupid people lighting campfires and letting them get out of control. Either way I hope the authorities find the person or people responsible and give them hell. I’m not a violent person, but even I would be tempted to knock some sense into them with a very big stick!

I’m sorry to rant on like this but I’m angry.

This whole area is a tinderbox thanks to a long, dry summer and the negligence of those who should know better. Most residents are not prepared. Warrandyte has one ‘Safer Place’ * of last resort in a building adjacent to a football oval. I know that spot and I wouldn’t like to trust my life to it.

Why is commonsense in such short supply? How can we live in a place like this and not take the threat of bushfire seriously?

My only hope is that these dress rehearsals will shock some people into reassessing the danger… and taking some responsibility for their own lives and those of their neighbours. I’m not holding my breath.

*’The signs, [for Safer Place] are on Taroona Avenue in Warrandyte, … and point to two brick buildings at Warrandyte Reserve.’ This information appeared in  theage.com.au. You can read the full article here.


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