Valla Rural Fire Service captain reflects on the deadly old Pacific Highway

by admin on July 13th, 2018

filed under 南京夜网

ANGEL IN YELLOW: Rural Fire Service Valla brigade captain Peter BroughamVALLA fire brigade captain Peter Brougham and what is now the old Pacific Highway that runs through the district are old sparring partners.
Nanjing Night Net

At times the relationship has been amicable as the old highway when it was new was often the road of choice for the Cat 1 and 7 to reach incidents. At other moments –far too many, far too frequent –they were the filthiest of foes.

No single man or woman in the emergency services on the coast has had a more intimate understanding than Captain Brougham of the devastation wrought on the old black strip between Nambucca Heads and Ballards Rd south of Urunga.

He has led the brigade with humour, wile, courage and old fashioned common sense for 25 years through to the current day. Late last week, he was among a select group of ‘ordinary folk’ VIPs invited for the ceremonial opening of the new highway.

His joy at seeing the fresh four lane dual carriagewaywas balanced with memory of the old –a beast which claimed the lives of dozens.

Each fatality –some of them multiples –was a chapter in tragedy. The misery could be particularly confronting for the Valla brigade volunteers when the victims were ‘locals’ and known to them.

“The worst one –other than all the terrible ones we had just last year –was when a car ran into a coach. The car caught fire and the bus burned from end to end. That happened only a few weeks before the one at Kempsey (Clybucca),” Peter said.

“It was that hot that it was hard to pull the vehicles apart.”

While the stretch of road near the Valla Beach turnoff was ground zerofora spate of dreadful crashesin 2015 –including five fatalities in as many weeks –Peter said a location just to its north was oncea regular callout.

“We used to have a lot accidents at Ballards Rd, with people losing it as they came up the hill,” he said.

While he has no doubt the brigade will be called to accidents on the new highway, he believes the darkest days are in the rear view mirror.

“The new road cuts out a lot of the bad sections and it also takes out manyof the intersections like Valla Beach so it should be a lot less dangerous,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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