Fire Rescue NSW Hunter report
Belmont fire station were the first crew to arrive at a building fire at Swansea on Tuesday. Leading Firefighter Tim Wilson said that, when they approached Swansea bridge, “a thick, dark column of smoke was visible. The fire was obviously intense and well established”.
A garage and carport containing a car, boat, and caravan were ablaze. An oxy-acetylene cylinder posed an additional hazard. The fire was so intense that it broke the windows of the house next door and melted its guttering.
Senior firefighters Phil Llewellyn and Pete Jaschke fought to stop the fire from spreading to the adjoining residence. With help from arriving crews, Belmont station managed to protect nearby houses and extinguish the fire, limiting damage to the garage and carport.
The Swansea fire is the latest emergency incident in a busy period for Belmont Firefighter Tim Wilson. He was recently sent to cover a staff shortage at Avalon fire station. On his way back to the fire station after attending an incident at Palm Beach, Leading Firefighter Wilson noticed a woman in trouble in the water. A rip was carrying her out to sea. An experienced lifesaver and strong swimmer, the firefighter ran to the beach, acquired a pair of shorts from a member of the public and swam out to support the woman. He calmed and kept the German tourist afloat until lifesavers were notified and arrived with a rescue board.