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Penrith Panthers star James Tamou shares bushfire experience

January 11, 2020 12:40 pm

Penrith Panthers star James Tamou has detailed the moment he “felt powerless” while trying to help defend properties from the bushfires.

Australia has been devastated by the ongoing bushfires. The shocking levels of destruction and loss of life has become global news.

In the devastation has been an outpouring of generosity the world over and tales of survival from every day Aussies fighting to keep not only their houses safe, but doing whatever they can for their neighbours and community.

People have banded together to hold off the flames from tearing their homes apart with Penrith Panthers star James Tamou also doing his part to help defend properties.

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Tamou detailed his eye-opening experience after heading out to help his in-laws in Braidwood, located around 40 minutes inland from Batemans Bay.

The Panthers prop said he’d never encountered stronger people in his life than the firefighters he saw battling for days on end and the terrifying situations had left him feeling “powerless” against the raging winds and flames.

“It was actually my father in-law, he’d been working his butt off for the last month, month and a half, went down to their property and spent some time with them,” Tamou said in a video released by his club.

“He was like ‘jump in we’re going to go help some people or go around to make sure everything is fine’.

“They were very thin there, you could tell that once they saw us they were all like ‘come on in, we need all the help we can get’.

“We would sort of hold our ground against the fire, it took us all day to hold our ground to then come back the next day and find that the flames had gone up a bit more. You know 20 metres past the point we were trying to defend.

“You just felt like you had nothing left and I can only imagine what the people that were there for weeks what they were going through.

“It was a different type of fatigue that got ya and some of those firemen were some of the strongest people I think I’ve ever seen, they just kept going. Right now they’re still going and still trying to fight the fire.

“There was one time we were trying to fight this fire and the wind sort of changed and the fire came around the back of us and we’re standing there holding the hose.

“We feel this heat in front of us and we feel it beside us. This circle is getting smaller and smaller and we’re sort of looking at each other, none of us want to brush it or run off and dog it but we’re looking at each other like ‘what are we doing?’.

“The flames are climbing the trees as quick as anything above my head, we’re standing right there and then we hear this ‘everyone get the heck out of here’.

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