A Fiji-born farmer and his family escaped raging flames last Thursday when the bushfire that began in the Blue Mountains area in Australia threatened their lives.
Taufiq Ahmed, 29, his wife Fazia, 27, and two children originally from Bau Rd, Nausori, are thanking God and the Newcastle authorities who came to their rescue.
Speaking from his Richardson St home in Campvale Suburb in Newcastle yesterday, Mr Ahmed relayed his panic dash at 8pm that day to save his family, poultry farm and his home.
He said he was working in his poultry farm when the fire started in the bush just next to his house.
"I was here (in the farm) on Thursday afternoon, the wind blew the fire towards our house," Mr Ahmed said.
He said when he saw the fire, he quickly called 000 and ran to his house which was a few metres away from the farm to alert his wife and children.
"They were in the house and I told them to stay put and prepare to leave if anything serious happens."
He said when the fire intensified, he tried to evacuate with his wife and children in his car but could not as the main road was fully covered with flames.
He said when they returned home, the fire had spread to the front of their house.
"The only thing we could see was huge flames."
Mr Ahmed said his family was lucky as a fire brigade came to their rescue and evacuated them to a friend's place nearby.
"We were in the house and when we tried to escape the fire, we couldn't because the road was covered in flames. We panicked as I had to save my farm and house and look after the family, so I was doing three things at one time."
He said while his house was not burnt, his poultry business suffered a significant loss.
Mr Ahmed said the fire was something he and his family would remember for the rest of their lives.
"It's terrible and it is still going on. When the fire spread, the feeling was just like 'save your life' as we were in the middle of a fireball and saving lives was the most important thing at that time."
He said although his family was safe, they were still concerned as the fire could continue for weeks.
"I just want to say this is the hardest time for the Australian people. This is the worst fire."