Fight or Flight? - What do you reckon?

By: Glenn Torrens

A fight-or-flight fire fright has Glenn Torrens processing priorities

Fight or Flight? - What do you reckon?
What do you reckon?

Another scorcher day. An overheated truck on a nearby freeway caught fire; the fire spread; and I received an evacuation text to my phone. 


These days, I usually work from home so I have a head-start when it comes to an evacuation … which of course, is what thousands of Aussies are asked to prepare for each bushfire season.

So I quickly packed my wallet, my toothbrush and a week’s worth of T-shirts and undies into a travel bag. My phone pinged and rang several times with offers of help; I had floors/lounges to sleep on if required. One good mate offered help with my cars: "I’ve got plenty of space in my yard," Aaron reassured.

And jeez, that chat really got my brain pumping … Because how does anyone single-handedly save a bunch of classic cars from a bushfire?

My first decision was what car would I take with me? The answer was easy: my Toyota HiLux 4WD. It just outranks my Pajero as the best ‘Swiss Army Knife’ vehicle that I own. And with its equipment, it’s kinda, probably, also the most difficult, and expensive, vehicle to replace if it was destroyed by fire.

But what about my other cars?

I thought the best chance for their survival would be to park them on the street. With nothing more flammable around them than some short lawn.  I hoped they would be safe. So, under a smoky sky, I shuffled my cars on to the street. Next, I grabbed my most favourite and useful tool kit – it’s small, but I can do just about anything with it, and my other, bigger tools are easily replaced – and lobbed that in the HiLux with my travel bag. 

Then I began sorting buckets and hoses; even though I’d readied my HiLux as my getaway car, I’d stay as long as possible to fight the fire, if required. An idea I had was that my fire-rated motorsport race suit, undies and balaclava would be vital protection from any heat and flames.

As well as police vehicles and fire trucks, by this time the streets around my bush-bound village were becoming busy with traffic … including plenty of caravans, horse trailers and just about every cool/nice/special/classic car I knew of in my area … all joining the orderly queue of traffic out of town. 

But not everyone. One hero in one of those God-Bless-America big-rigs – nose-height bonnet; racing stripes; loud; IM-TUFF-type rego plates – bellowed along my street at about 100km/h hell-bent on a three-block short cut, almost ramming up the butt of someone else, patiently waiting at a give way sign. Good one, mate … There’s no flames here yet, but your mind is melting. Yep, so tuff.

Thankfully, my little town wasn’t obliterated. An hour or two later everything had settled. Gratefully, the firies and water-bombing choppers had things under control.  

So I shuffled my nice cars back in my garage and cracked a beer! 

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