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Eyre residents comfort each other -

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Eyre residents comfort each other

AM - Thursday, 13 January , 2005 08:04:25

Reporter: Hayden Cooper

ELEANOR HALL: Last night some of the physically and mentally exhausted residents of the Eyre
community converged on the regional centre of Port Lincoln to have a meal and a quiet drink with

Our reporter Hayden Cooper caught up with some of them.

HAYDEN COOPER: Wednesday night in the Pier Hotel on the Port Lincoln foreshore is usually fairly
quiet. But tonight, it's perhaps even a little quieter after the fires that have gone through the
region in the last few days.

Now I've just pulled up a seat at a table with a bunch of locals.

Sir, if you don't mind me asking, how's it been as someone who lives in this area, sitting and
watching people you know go through what they've gone through with these devastating fires?

VOX POP 1: Yeah, no, a real shock really. A lot of people are suffering a lot of anguish for what's
happened in the last two days. I've just seen thousands and thousands and thousands of acres just
not a thing left.

And today I've spent the day walking around, destroying sheep that are just standing there just
burnt to a crisp, basically. And in my lifetime, I've never seen that, and to explain it to
someone, I don't think... until you experience it yourself, you just won't understand it.

HAYDEN COOPER: All right, well we'll move over here. Do you think this will be something this
community will struggle to get over for a long time to come, given that the number of people that
have died and so on?

VOX POP 2: We're pretty lucky here in Port Lincoln. The fires didn't actually get to Port Lincoln,
but only seven kilometres away, people have been affected and I'm sure that people from Port
Lincoln will band together to help the people in the local communities outside this town.

We are a close-knit community and I'm sure that we will recover from this and we'll all do our best
to help the people that have suffered from it.

HAYDEN COOPER: As you're sitting here Ma'am tonight, just having a meal at the Pier Hotel in Port
Lincoln, is that something you are recognising as well, the way that people are banding together
and helping out those in need over here?

VOX POP 3: Yeah, I think everyone's pulling together and offering support, wherever we can give it.
Doing fundraising, pulling stuff together.

HAYDEN COOPER: Sir, is this one of the worst things you've seen, living in this area? This fire was
pretty bad, and there was another one a few years ago nearby at a place called Tulka. How do you
compare? Has this one been the most devastating you've seen?

VOX POP 4: I did actually think Tulka was a bad fire at the start, but after seeing what I've seen
from yesterday, and when I've been out there today, and I've been helping a friend kill sheep. I've
been setting up water troughs for the sheep, getting food ready for the sheep as well, I think this
would never compare to anything I've ever seen before. It's just devastating.

HAYDEN COOPER: Where to from here? What does this community do to move on from this?

VOX POP 4: I think really we all have to basically just help each other. I got my phone call this
morning from a staff employee saying her house has burnt down. She left yesterday afternoon -
yesterday morning, sorry - to come to work. And she had her handbag and her set of clothes that she
was wearing for work, and she found out later on yesterday afternoon that her house was gone.

So we're basically joining up, helping out as much as we can. Helping farmers get rid of dead
sheep. They're just, you know, some are all in corners of paddocks and not doing anything, they're
dead. And some are just standing and burnt, frothing at the mouth, and just yeah. It's terrible.

ELEANOR HALL: Eyre Peninsula locals at Port Lincoln's Pier Hotel last night, with our reporter
Hayden Cooper.