Home' The Leader Newspaper : The Leader - January 7th 2015 Contents “The Leader”, Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 3
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ON HIGH ALERT
Emotions ran high as the fire that started
in Sampson Flat, near One Tree Hill on
Friday spread quickly towards the region.
Concerns were raised as the flames
were described to be travelling in a very
erratic manner, burning freely towards
over 20 towns including Williamstown and
Mount Pleasant, with the fire already near
Kersbrook, Gumeracha, Birdwood, Humbug
Scrub and Mount Crawford Forrest.
The fire got within five kilometres of
Williamstown, but the continual change of
the wind and weather helped steer it away
from the town.
The blaze reached the Kersbrook Primary
School, but was stopped before any major
damage was caused.
The smoke could be seen from around
the region with many towns being littered
With a risk to lives and homes, residents
were forced to make a decision on whether
to stay and defend their home or leave while
they still could.
Many sought refuge at relief centres at
the Willaston Football Club and the Tea Tree
Gully Recreation Centre.
Due to the dangerous situation presented
by the fire, the Mount Pleasant Hospital has
Twenty four patients and residents were
relocated to other hospitals within the region,
including the Angaston Hospital.
As The Leader goes to print approximately
12,476.5 hectares has been burnt and at
least 26 houses lost or damaged.
Fire fighters have been working hard to
gain control of the blaze by today, due to
challenges provided by the extreme weather
Sampson Flat Fire strikes fear
When the residents of Abbeyfield,
Williamstown, had to evacuate their
nursing home over the week-end it was
important that they were informed but
not made to feel upset so they were told
they were going on an adventure.
“It was about camping out like their
time in the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides,”
Ms Barbara Wieland, General Manager,
Abbeyfield, told the residents.
On Saturday afternoon Ms Wieland
was watching the Sampson Flat fire web
page and took advice from authorities to
evacuate her nursing home residents and
temporarily re-locate around 29 residents
and retirement village people to Tanunda
Those who could stay with families
did so. However, many of the aged people
were from the Williamstown and Mt.
Pleasant region, which was unsafe with
the approaching bushfire.
The majority of the residents aged in
their 90’s with the youngest person, 87
years, were all in tune with what was
Ms Wieland told The Leader, “Around
2.30 p.m. we were told of the situation and
had to make a decision because we had
to wait 40 minutes for a bus to arrive to
transport the residents.
“I saw the smoke in the distance and
the situation just looked unpredictable.
The wind was pushing the fire toward us
and it took 45 minutes to get everyone
onto the bus.
“My staff worked beyond the call of duty
and some came in that were not on duty.
There were husbands of staff and family
members who all came to help. The staff
and community worked really well, which
says a lot of how the Barossa Valley works
together with camaraderie.
“Out of this we will build a stronger
relationship with Tanunda Lutheran
Home and we will now be able to review
our emergency plan.”
Initially Ms Wieland was hoping
it would just be an overnight stay at
Tanunda Lutheran Home for residents.
She added, “What better place to stay in
than a chapel?”
“Everyone at Tanunda Lutheran Home
has been absolutely brilliant and so helpful
which says so much for christian faith.
“On arrival at Tanunda Lutheran Home
all our residents from Abbeyfield were
welcomed by the C.E.O., Mr Lee Martin
and his staff and they were all made to
feel welcome,” she said.
Mr Martin said, “Within 15 minutes of
the guests’ arrival everyone was offered a
glass of wine, a cup of tea and a biscuit,”
Ms Wieland acknowledged the previous
work put in by former Abbeyfield C.E.O.,
Mrs Elaine Johnson and former Tanunda
Lutheran Home staff member, Ms Felicity
Hage had previously developed the
emergency plan in readiness to be put
When Ms Wieland contacted Mr Martin
he said he would honour any deal that had
been previously set up.
She added, “I talked to his managers
about the sorts of things we needed to
bring. We had the emergency plan and
just had to enact on that plan.
Ms Wieland was extremely thankful
to C.F.S. volunteers for all their work in
keeping the community safe.
Furthermore she thanked the
Department of Social Services for co-
operating, co-ordinating and overseeing
the evacuation together with the Aged
Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.
Mr Martin said, “It really has been a
pleasure in collaboration between the two
facilities. Tanunda Lutheran Home will
co-operate with Abbeyfield and review the
situation to see when it was safe for the
residents to return to Abbeyfield.
“I thank my management team for
ensuring our facility at Tanunda Lutheran
Home was functional when the people
from Abbeyfield arrived. Our maintenance
staff collected the necessary mattresses
for sleeping arrangements.
“Furthermore I would like to
acknowledge Barbara (Ms Wieland) for her
calmness in dealing with this situation.”
Mrs Melva Collins, aged 94, one of the
Abbeyfield residents staying at Tanunda
Lutheran Home was amongst those to
Previously she lived in a private unit
at Barossa Village. However, failing
health with her leg, back and eyesight
necessitated her move to Abbeyfield.
“I have only been a resident at Abbeyfield
for three weeks and have found it to be
quite a homely place,” she remarked.
In her younger days Mrs Collins said
she did a lot of volunteering work with
the local C.W.A. and Red Cross.
She agreed that staying over at Tanunda
Lutheran Home was like a Boy Scout or
Girl Guide adventure.
All of the visiting residents
returned to Abbeyfield again on Monday
Fire challenges Abbeyfield
Mr Lee Martin, C.E.O., Tanunda Lutheran
Home and Ms Barbara Wieland, General
Manager, Abbeyfield, outside the Gramp
Chapel where Abbeyfield residents were
Taking a break before their meal at Tanunda Lutheran Home are Abbeyfield
residents: Melva Collins, Beryl Pohl, Eric Adams and Joan Adams.
More Abbeyfield residents at Tanunda Lutheran Home: June Skitch,
Bill Hurst, Aileen Hurst, Adrianus Brink, Val Grigg, Gus Grigg and Wolf Siegler.
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