Vince Newby helped to save the post office owned by Ruth Plummer as fire tore through the region.
Vince Newby helped to save the post office owned by Ruth Plummer as fire tore through the region. Marc stapelberg

Water buckets and quick thinking saves beloved community hub

Scary fire scenes at Rappville: Vince Newby helped to save the post office owned by Ruth Plummer as fire tore through the region.
Scary fire scenes at Rappville: Vince Newby helped to save the post office owned by Ruth Plummer as fire tore through the region.

FAST-thinking by a neighbour saved the the Rappville Post Office as fire ripped through the village.

It's now one of the few businesses still standing in a village which lost 21 homes.

Post Office proprietor Ruth Plummer said if Vince Newby had not noticed the fence between their properties was ablaze, it would have quickly spread across the carport roof and set the Post Office alight.

 

She said they were very lucky as many other buildings in Nandabah Street have burned to the ground.

In country a post office is a community hub, it's a place where people from the area gather for a chat wile they collect and send their mail or pay their bills.

Ms Plummer, 72, who has run the Post Office for 22 years, said the fires which came within a few metres was able to be defeated.

 

Vince Newby helped to save the post office owned by Ruth Plummer as fire tore through the region.
Vince Newby helped to save the post office owned by Ruth Plummer as fire tore through the region. Marc stapelberg

But she wasn't there when the fire came through, and her casual staff member was working.

"Her husband is unwell so she closed up at 1pm, went home and packed her and her husband's bags, grabbed the dogs and left.

"Her house in Murray St later burned down."

Ms Plummer said she had five buckets of water from the laundry she had saved in case they were needed.

"Vince was keeping the fire from burning down the fence, and Peter from next door on the other side sloshed the buckets of water on the fence and then the fire brigade came up," she said.

But a modest Mr Newby said he really didn't do much.

The active 75-year-old said he could see the fire which burned up from Wyan Rd and Myrtle Creek Rd intersection from his veranda as it steadily roared towards the village.

"I just come up because the power went out and I had the hose down the back to try and check the fire," he said.

"I wanted to see if we could stop it, then I hooked the generator up.

"I saw the fire on the fence and Peter the other neighbour and another fella saw what was going on, grabbed a couple of buckets and just doused it."

Mr Newby said they were fortunate because so much of the town was destroyed by the fires.

"If the fire had got into the pencil pines it would have gone up," he said.

Looking out across the bleak and blackened landscape, Mr Newby said he hoped the village could be rebuilt.