An emotional firefighter has teared up during an interview with a reporter as he spoke about how he had not had the time to buy his daughter a Christmas present.
Andrew Johnston from the Balmoral RFS, was overwhelmed to see the fire station loaded with not only much-needed supplies for the firies, but also Christmas gifts.
Balmoral, in the Wingecarribee Shire Council area, consists of about 150 houses with a population of some 400 people.
The community was already reeling after being hit on Thursday when the flames returned on Saturday during catastrophic fire conditions.
"We've got the devastating news there's not much left in the town of Balmoral," Premier Gladys Berejiklian said in nearby Picton on Sunday.
"Very sad to hear that. Many residents have had that news in the last little while. Communities like Buxton and others have also been very hard hit."
Some of the Christmas gifts were for children, and Mr Johnston told Nine News he hasn’t yet had the chance to buy his daughter a Christmas present.
“I haven't even gone Christmas shopping or anything for my daughter. She's about to turn one on January 11,” he said while tearing up.
“Thank you very much. The community spirit is just awesome, not just for us, for drought-affected farmers, they're getting everything delivered to them.”
Mr Johnston was emotional throughout his Nine News interview, and called the Aussie spirit “phenomenal”.
The firefighter, only known as Greg, told John Stanley the language used by the NSW Premier following the fires made him feel as though RFS crews “failed” when trying to save the village of Balmoral at the weekend.
“It was horrific,” an emotional Greg said.
“Balmoral has not been wiped off the map. It is not almost gone. It is all still there.
“The suggestion that we failed in defending that village… I don’t know how the other guys take that, but, me personally, I’m quite offended at the suggestion that we lost that village because we didn’t.
“I had mates hospitalised.”
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