Henty was ready to flee fire

IN the main street of Henty about 30 people gathered as they prepared to flee.

There was a time yesterday afternoon when residents were seriously contemplating the possibility their homes could be overrun by a fire from the west.

At the town’s hospital and aged-care home, staff gathered up medical records in plastic bags and labelled them.

A bus was ready to pick up the elderly and those without families in the case of evacuation.

At Dale’s IGA on the main street, Ken Jones was manning the cash register as the store was hit by a flurry of scared locals.

“A lot of people were worried,” he said.

“They were coming in and getting all the water and food they could carry.

“They were all meeting out front of the hardware store and the newsagent and getting ready to move.”

At one stage Mr Jones said a message came over the radio, saying there was a fire in the vicinity of Henty and it was too late for residents to leave.

He went home to check on his family in Ivor Street, but by then they had already heard word the fire was being brought under control.

At the hospital and aged-care home, health service manager Jeff Bedford said they had checked their patients and told them they could be evacuated, making an effort not to frighten them.

“We said it’s unlikely it’s going to happen but if it is we’ll come back and let you know what is going on,” he said.

A decision was made to send down five ambulance vehicles from Wagga in event of the fire escalating, with authorities taking into consideration that it would take an hour for them to get to Henty if there was a sudden change in the fire front.

Meanwhile, a vehicle from Albury was stationed outside at the back of the building.

Mr Bedford said they felt safe.

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