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Brave Aboriginal man uses a BRANCH to try and stop a fire from claiming his elderly parents’ home

A brave Aboriginal man used a branch to try and stop a fire from claiming his elderly parents’ home. 

Gary Ridgeway was defending the property in Purfleet, south of Taree, on Sunday morning.

A tin boat had caught alight and was spreading through nearby trees and shrubs, while he used a small branch to pat out what he could.

The proud indigenous man told Daily Mail Australia he ‘wasn’t frightened of the bush’ and would defend his community for as long as he could.

Gary Ridgeway was defending his parents’ property in Purfleet, south of Taree, on Sunday morning

The proud indigenous man told Daily Mail Australia he 'wasn't frightened of the bush' and would defend his community for as long as he could

The proud indigenous man told Daily Mail Australia he ‘wasn’t frightened of the bush’ and would defend his community for as long as he could

He and his family were forced out of their homes just a week ago when what he describes as a ‘wall of flames’ towered over the street.

But this time, he was prepared to stay and keep the fire at bay while he could.

‘The bush talks to me,’ he said. 

‘And I’ll do anything to save my parents’ home.’

Mr Ridgeway’s mother is in her 80s and his dad is in his 90s. The couple were in their home just metres away from the flames.

He was doing all he could to save his community, but more importantly his family home.

Mr Ridgeway is seen using a branch in an attempt to stop the fire from approaching his family home

Mr Ridgeway is seen using a branch in an attempt to stop the fire from approaching his family home

Mr Ridgeway attracted an audience in his friend Bob and a group of local children, who stood back, amazed, while he tried to put out the fire

Mr Ridgeway attracted an audience in his friend Bob and a group of local children, who stood back, amazed, while he tried to put out the fire

‘I’m a part of the stolen generation,’ he said. 

‘I was passed through four white families before I found my family again here.’

‘Took me a while to get back but the important thing is that I’m here now.’

Mr Ridgeway promised his parents they would live in the family home for the rest of their lives, and told Daily Mail Australia he couldn’t fathom sending them to a nursing home.

‘Young people these days don’t care. My parents will stay with me forever. I want their spirits in my home when they do pass on,’ he said.

Children surround Mr Ridgeway as firefighters work to put out the blaze on Sunday

Children surround Mr Ridgeway as firefighters work to put out the blaze on Sunday

Mr Ridgeway stepped back while the firefighters put out the blaze with a pressure hose (pictured)

Mr Ridgeway stepped back while the firefighters put out the blaze with a pressure hose (pictured)

‘A lot of people think I’m a stupid black fella but I’m not, I’m educated and these aren’t the first fires I’ve fought.’

Mr Ridgeway also helped to defend properties in the Blue Mountains in the 80s. 

He said he lost four friends fighting that blaze, and that the loss was devastating.

‘We were all fighting it. I was on the other side of the river trying to contain it, four of them were across from me and it just went up,’ he said.

Mr Ridgeway attracted an audience in his friend Bob and a group of local children, who stood back, amazed, while he tried to put out the fire.

Mr Ridgeway's mother is in her 80s and his dad is in his 90s. The couple were in their home just metres away from the flames

Mr Ridgeway’s mother is in her 80s and his dad is in his 90s. The couple were in their home just metres away from the flames

Pictured: Firefighters put out a blaze at Purfleet, south of Taree, on Sunday morning

Pictured: Firefighters put out a blaze at Purfleet, south of Taree, on Sunday morning

The longer he carried on, the more children arrived, until eventually firefighters from the Taree brigade arrived to help him put out the blaze, which was threatening to push south into the homes along the street.

The local children, who were excited to check out the fire truck, rushed to the aid of emergency services and offered to help them.

Mr Ridgeway stepped back while the firefighters put out the blaze with a pressure hose – a far cry from his single branch. 

He then continued to help by putting out the spot fires which were cropping up around the main event.

‘You should’ve been here last week… there was a wall of flames over there, this is okay now. I understand the bush.’

Mr Ridgeway assisted the firefighters (pictured) by putting out spot fires that appeared

Mr Ridgeway assisted the firefighters (pictured) by putting out spot fires that appeared

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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