Partners Of Fallen Firefighters 'Still In Denial' As Heartbreaking Detail Of Their Deaths Is Revealed
The partners of Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, and Geoff Keaton, 32, who died fighting the Green Wattle Creek fire on Thursday night say their husbands were 'heroes' but they haven't come to terms with their loss.
The two men had been fighting the Green Wattle Fire, a blaze stretching more than 192,000 hectares, when a gum tree collapsed on their truck, forcing it off the road.
Days on, their wives, Melissa O'Dwyer and Jess Hayes are still waiting for them to come home.
“I am still in denial,” Melissa told The Daily Telegraph on Monday. “It is always in the back of your mind but the boys have always got each other’s back.”
Mrs O'Dwyer said the crew at Horsley Park Fire Station would serve as aunties and uncles for the women's two children, Harvey Keaton and Charlotte O'Dwyer, who were born just days apart.
“They can hear the stories about their dads and how mighty they have been.”
In a moving Facebook post, Ms Hayes said she was also struggling to come to terms with her loss.
"I still don't understand but this I do know, you were such an amazing, loving and stubborn man," she wrote.
"Your passion and love for family, friends and the service was clear to everyone and you are going to leave a gigantic hole in everyone's heart.
"Harvey and I love you so much... you will never be forgotten and Harvey will always know his daddy is a hero."
RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons has previously praised the men for their enthusiastic approach to helping defend homes and people from a horror fire season.
"They're ordinary, everyday individuals like you and I [who] go out and simply want to serve and protect and make a difference in their local community and they don't ever go out in the knowledge that they might not come home," he said during a press conference last year.
Mr O'Dwyer's father was also a dedicated volunteer, and had been working the shift before his son on the night he was tragically killed.
On Sunday, a devastated Mr Fitzsimmons revealed just a moment could have saved the men.
“Just half a second either way and they would have been OK,” he said.
The Green Wattle Creek Fire is burning across 200,000 hectares, and remains out of control.