Mayor stands and fights

Former Cardinia Shire mayor Bill Pearson saw first-hand the fantastic work done by the CFA and emergency Former Cardinia Shire mayor Bill Pearson saw first-hand the fantastic work done by the CFA and emergency

By Melissa Meehan
FORMER Cardinia Shire mayor Bill Pearson can easily identify the most frightening moment of his life.
“Watching the fire coming towards us on Black Saturday was the most terrifying thing I have ever seen,” Cr Pearson reflected this week.
“I, like lots of locals, stayed to fight the fire.
“But when the wind changed, I have never seen anything so horrific.”
Cr Pearson said given his time over again, he would not stay to protect his Bunyip North home.
“I really had a first-hand look of the utter devastation,” he said.
“I was locked in, I saw people fighting for their homes – just horrific.”
He said the CFA message to leave early needed to be facilitated by the community.
“I wouldn’t stay again,” he said.
“It’s imperative that people like myself – I’m 67 – understand they should have no option but to leave,” he said.
“I learnt on Black Saturday that you just can’t fight it, you have to be fit enough to withstand the heat and work hard in horrific temperatures.
“Not many people could be honest and say they could do that.”
His biggest memory of that fateful day? Watching the fires change direction towards Labertouche. Just one day changed his view of the emergency services.
“I don’t think anyone, including myself realised what a fantastic job the CFA and other agencies actually did,” he said.
“But after that day – I know what they do, it’s just amazing, the volunteers risking their lives to save ours.”

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