Local News

A terrifying personal story of fleeing the Tathra Bushfires

Tathra bushfires by david porter

The Porter Family had to flee the Tathra bushfires on March 18, 2018. (David Porter)

By Caz Nowaczyk

David Porter, a resident of Tathra, was forced to round-up his family and flee his home during the March 2018 Tathra Bushfires. On the verge of disaster, David, along with his two children, his 93-year-old father, and the family dog, Morris, piled into their Ford Explorer, with nothing but a folder of passports and certificates, and David’s 10-year-old son’s backpack.

David’s wife was away at the time - on a day trip in Cooma with friends - safe, and out of harms way.

David drove his family to the Tathra Country Club, but police redirected them to the Bega Refuge Centre. However, the refuge centre was not immune from the bellowing smoke that was blowing back towards it and David’s father, a dementia suffer,  had to be evacuated to hospital with smoke inhalation. He couldn’t understand why they couldn’t return to the house, and worried about his car.

It was a long three days before David and his family were allowed to return to their community to see if their homes had survived the rampaging fires. Miraculously, David’s home had survived, with only a light amount of damage. His neighbours were not so lucky.

David said of the experience: “The helplessness of being completely overwhelmed and out of control, in a situation where you are in the path of something so all-encompassing, and powerful, was a truly terrifying experience. As the man of the family, I felt I had to put on a brave face and remain strong for my family, when inside everything was churning.”

Listen to David’s interview and watch the terrifying video footage of David’s personal experience below.