'Split Second Of Panic': RFS Crew's Incredible Escape After Truck Overrun By Fire
A NSW Rural Fire Service brigade has recalled the heart-stopping moment they escaped unharmed after their truck was overrun by fire.
Like many local brigades across the country, the crew at Blackheath is one big volunteer firefighting family.
Together the crew, from the NSW Blue Mountains area, has battled countless blazes -- but one incident just before Christmas saw them come dangerously close to losing four of their own.
While out at a fire, the crew's truck was overrun by flames, meaning they couldn't get out of the area before the fire came over them.
Speaking to The Sunday Project, volunteer firefighter Scott Morris said there were "several points" he thought they were going to die.
"Panic for a split second," he described the moment inside the truck.
"And then you look around and 'I'm with my brothers'. I know that sounds like a cliche, but I am. And we either pull together and get out or we don't."
Brigade Captain Larry Howard told Chris Bath everything was "fine until the water ran out".
Asked what the crew did to get out, Howard said he looked to their driver Alex and said: "It was time to go."
Alex Newcombe has proven himself as the brigade's best driver. He was behind the wheel that night and said while he felt the pressure in the moment, he couldn't let his crew down.
Incredibly, Newcombe managed to reverse the truck out of danger, surrounded by flames and smoke, and get his crew home safely.
The heat from the blaze was so intense it melted parts of the truck's reflective striping and mirrors.
'I've got to get us out of there and I did, so all good," he said.
Incredibly, just 12 weeks earlier Newcombe had undergone kidney transplant surgery after a strep throat spread and led to his immune system attacking his own body.
Luckily, Newcombe managed to find a match for a transplant-- his wife of 20 years and fellow volunteer firefighter, Kate.
While Newcombe admits he went back onto the fire ground earlier than doctors would have advised, he joked nobody had told him not to go back that soon either.
"The brigade needed me and they needed drivers and crew leaders and I'm both," he said.
"And my back garden's on fire!"
Newcombe still has a long road to recovery ahead of him, becoming emotional when asked about the intense side effects from the injections he needs to take twice a day to ensure his body doesn't reject the transplant.
Kate and Newcombe's "work wife" Morris are now in charge of making sure he gets his injections, as Newcombe jokes that he prefers when Morris does them because he has "softer hands".
"Told you, he's a much better wife," Kate said.
While the crew joke they were really "protecting Kate's kidney" that night and Kate laughed that she "would have been pissed", it's clear the terrifying incident has impacted them all.
Morris said all of them had cried at some point.
"Not that night but later on we've all had a bit of a weep to one another and on our own," he said.