As fire descended on the Upper Murray during the horrid summer of 2020 and towns lost power, the generator designed to keep the Corryong water treatment plant online faulted.
North East Water's Corryong area coordinator David Dickson knew something had to be done, and fast, to prevent towns and firefighters running out of water.
Even with the fire closing in and threatening his own home, Mr Dickson and his team rushed to get the plant back online.
"When we lost power, we have a generator that normally kicks in but the plant went into fault so we had to reset the plant to get it up and running," he said.
"I was probably a bit nervous about the fire but trying to make sure the town didn't run out of water, if it ran out of water we may have lost a few houses.
"And the CFA were filling up from hydrants in town, probably using a bit more water than the plant was capable of producing."
Asked if the plant reset was a major undertaking, Mr Dickson said "it is when there's a fire a kilometre down the road."
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After the firefront finally past, Mr Dickson and his team - Tim Weeden and Adam Gadd - were kept busy resetting after faults, fixing damaged infrastructure in Cudgewa and checking the water quality to ensure the towns' supply was suitable.
This week, Mr Dickson's efforts were recognised when the Water Industry Operators Association named him the Victorian winner of the Spirit of Australia Award.
But the team leader maintains it was far from a solo effort.
"There were a lot of people that did a lot of hard work," Mr Dickson said.
"I think a lot of congratulations need to go out to a lot of people not just myself.
"We're a team of three.
"We also had fantastic support from all the North East Water team... everyone chipped in and helped keep everything up and running."
Acting managing director of North East Water, Anthony Hernan, said he truly believed Mr Dickson and his team were heroes.
"David went above and beyond to maintain the water supply when bushfires engulfed Corryong, Cudgewa and Walwa," Mr Hernan said.
"Without his dedication to the community, the impacts on the towns would have been far more significant.
"His entire team were outstanding in keeping the treatment plant online and the pumps working when fire literally surrounded the plant.
"They then worked tirelessly in the following weeks to make sure both towns were able to access clean, safe drinking water when raw water from the river became affected by ash and silt."