THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29
Gracemere residents are returning home after fire conditions classed as catastrophic on Wednesday resulted in a rapid evacuation of the town south of Rockhampton, while residents south of Mackay are describing their own fire emergency as like seeing “the door to hell”.
About 50 residents at Campwin Beach, on the Queensland coast south of Mackay, were forced to leave their homes at 2:00am today to seek shelter on other parts of the beach as a blaze threatened their homes.
Sarina Beach resident Vicky Crichton said she was woken by authorities telling her to evacuate her home.
“It was so quick, it was. I just opened the door and it was like opening the door to hell,” she said.
“It was just heat and people running up the street and it was just crazy.”
Ms Crichton said she only had time to grab her children’s portraits off the wall and jump in the car with her family.
“It was so ferocious, if the house would have gone, we would of all just gone up,” she said.
“We just thought … We’re going to come back to nothing,
“It’s an absolute miracle. … We’ve all still got our houses and we’re all still alive.”
Another Sarina Beach resident, Danielle Fox, was also forced to flee her home in the middle of the night.
“It escalated so quickly and it came right up to the back of our house … so that was pretty scary,” she said.
“Say you were standing a metre away from me I would not be able to see you, the smoke was very, very thick and the ash was just falling.”
The warning has since been downgraded and no properties were lost in the area.
Further south along the coast, most of Gracemere’s 8,000 residents fled to Rockhampton during the emergency warning, with authorities praising the safe and orderly evacuation.
Grace Cairns was expecting the worst when she returned to her property but the fire was stopped just metres from the house.
“When we left, the fire was coming down the hill and we took off because we were trying to get horses out and you could see the flames coming down the hill and I thought it was gone,” she said.
“But these amazing water bombers and the firies … look at the houses still standing. [The fires] burnt around, but the homes are still there. It’s phenomenal. It’s just unreal.”
A Perth woman has spent three days in hospital after being attacked by a stray cat while walking near her home, prompting a warning about the very high risk of infection posed by the animals.
Melanie Breese suffered scratches and puncture wounds to her hand and wrist after leaning down to pat the cat.
“It looked a lot like my own cat and I just decided I’d like to give it a little pat on the head,” Mrs Breese said.
“It gave me no warning, no hissing or any indication of what it was going to do.
“But the next thing I knew I was recoiling back, and the cat’s claws were still in my hand and in my wrist.
“I’m extremely fond of cats. I’ve had cats all my life and they’ve always been very docile and affectionate, so I was very ill-prepared for this particular beast.”
Bleeding heavily from her arm, Mrs Breese returned home and contacted her GP who advised her to go straight to hospital to have the wound assessed.
Over the coming hours, it became inflamed and sore, preventing her from using her hand.
She is waiting to hear whether she will require surgery to have the wound properly cleaned.
Emergency medicine specialist Alan Gault said 28 people had presented at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital with cat-inflicted injuries this year, and infection rates were high.
“Most people think cats are very clean animals and often, when they get attacked by a cat, the injury itself looks fairly trivial and innocuous, so often they don’t seek medical help or don’t clean the wound appropriately,” he said.
“But because cats have got very long, needle-like sharp teeth, they are very good at inoculating bacteria from their mouths deep into the tissues.
“Upwards of 80 per cent of cat bites will become infected.”
If left untreated, Dr Gault said the consequences of an infected cat bite could ultimately be fatal.
“If the wound becomes so badly infected, there could be the potential for amputation,” he said.
“If it’s completely untreated the body would develop overwhelming sepsis, and the likely outcome, if that continues to go untreated, would be death.”
Mrs Breese reported the incident to rangers at the City of Fremantle, which will now attempt to track down the offending feline.
Wolf Creek actor John Jarratt has been committed to stand trial in the NSW District Court on a charge of rape from 1976.
The trial will be held late next year.
It is alleged Mr Jarratt, who was 24 at the time, sexually assaulted an 18-year-old woman at a house in Randwick, in the city’s eastern suburbs, in September 1976.
The woman made a report to officers at the Eastern Beaches Police Area Command in December 2017 and a formal investigation began.
Mr Jarratt has pleaded not guilty.
The 66-year-old is best known for his starring role of Mick Taylor in the 2005 Australian horror film Wolf Creek.
He graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) in 1973 and has appeared in many Australian television shows including Play School, A Country Practice and McLeod’s Daughters.
Mr Jarrett also had a long stint as a presenter on lifestyle show Better Homes and Gardens.
This daily news roundup has been curated with stories from ABC News.