WA fire emergency: 'I'll never go back' - a Yarloop man's vow, and his grandson's decision to help

A YARLOOP man has vowed he will “never go back” to the town, with 26 years of fond memories making it too hard to see it flattened.

David Windas and his wife Anita left their rental with a handful of clothes and their car in the aftermath of the fire which tore through Yarloop on Thursday night.

“I’ll never go back,” he said.

“Too many memories and too much of a loss.

“I hope the community can rebuild, it’s just too hard for us.”

When the power and water went off in the town Mr Windas said there was no way to defend for those who wanted to.

“The Government knew we had water and pressure problems and did nothing about it,’ he said.

“I’m just really angry the town was left defenseless.”

Mr Windas said it was lucky more lives weren’t lost and the fire fighters were “God’s angels”.

“My wife has cried every morning since and I broke down yesterday,” he said.

“We evacuated to Australind and my daughter who lived north of Yarloop was so heartbroken I drove more than four hours to calm her down.”

Seeing his grandparents so upset prompted Mr Windas’ six-year-old grandson Ethan Holland to think of ways he could help the Yarloop community.

Ethan said he was going to build a new house for his grandparents but decided the task was too large and there were other ways he could help.

“I’m going to help the lizards and kangaroos with their sores because I don’t want them to get hurt in the big fire too,” he said.  

Gathering together bandages, iodine and sterile water Ethan put together a care package for Mandurah Coastal Veterinary practice on Monday morning.

“I was really worried about Grandma and Grandad so I hope this helps,” he said.

“I want my friends to help with care packages too.”

Coastal Veterinary vet Alicia Place welcomed the donation and explained some of the symptoms which the animals would be suffering from in the fire to Ethan.

“We are collecting bandages and food to give to the wildlife centres,’ she said.

“At the moment we have heard of lizards and kangaroos who are suffering from smoke inhalation, dehydration and burns.”

Mr Windas said his grandson had a "very  big heart" and it was lovely to see so many community members rallying together to help. 

"So many strangers have asked me how they can help and I just want to say how much it is appreciated," he said. 

"Thank you." 


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