The wife of a firefighter, who was badly injured in a blaze yesterday, has spoken exclusively to 7News about the terrifying incident which nearly claimed her husband's life.
Father-of-three, Rick Hinds, was fighting his first fire since becoming a volunteer, when the flames turned on him.
Rick was flown to Sydney's Concord hospital for treatment yesterday, and regained consciousness this morning.
His wife, Krystaal Hinds, who’s also a volunteer was delighted to hear the news.”Huge relief… it's your worst fear when you know, he's always worried about me going out this time it's him,” Krystaal said.
Thirty-year-old Rick, is an electrician and a father-of-three, including eight-week-old daughter, Elsie.
Yesterday’s blaze, just outside Gunning near Goulburn, was the first he'd fought since joining the Rural Fire Service.
“He saw the smoke, and he rang the captain and he went out and they got overrun,” his wife Krystaal said.
“There's nothing anyone can do about it, it's nobody’s fault.”
Krystaal is the local deputy-captain, and she was at home sick yesterday listening to the fire radio when it happened.
“I heard that there was a casualty, and I knew, just knew it was him,” Krystaal said.
At the time, the winds were nowhere near as strong as they were today.
Rick’s crew was fighting the fire as it raced up along the ridge, when all of a sudden, the wind changed direction.
Rick raced to save the truck, but it was too late; flames 20 metres high engulfed it, and Rick as he tried to run away.
His father-in-law, Peter Robinson, was fighting alongside him, and applied first aid.
“It just happened, just instantly, there was no, no pre-warning, there wasn't even a big gust of wind it just changed,” Peter said.
Local incident controller Brett Lees has seen plenty of animals suffer in fires, but never a mate.
"It's one thing you never want to see," Lees said."When it happens to someone you know very well, and respect it's not a good feeling at all."
Krystaal has driven to Sydney to be by his side.
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