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The ‘miracle’ that saw a sleepy town defy all odds in bushfire crisis

Natalie Peters & Erin Molan

A grateful family has experienced what they dub a ‘miracle’ after fending off raging bushfires near their properties in the south-east of NSW.

When the Currowan fire jumped the Shoalhaven river and headed for the Southern Highlands, a little store in the heart of the village of Wingello beat all odds.

David Bruggeman, along with his seven children and in-laws, worked to protect his home and shop from ember attacks before realising they had to flee.

He tells Natalie Peters and Erin Molan what happened next could be best described as the “Miracle of Wingello”.

“As we were leaving Wingello at midnight we said ‘I’ve lost the shop, I’ve lost the home but we’re alive’.

“Then, later on that night, we had a phone call that said, ‘David, the shop’s there,’ and I said, ‘no way!’

“Then later one of the other people that were still here said, ‘Dave, the shop’s there and the house as well!’, and I said, ‘the house?! No way!’”

Mr Bruggeman says 30 or 40 houses should have been destroyed but only six were burnt down.

“One of the fire brigade’s houses, the fire brigade had to pull back because it was so hot they couldn’t do anything about it, but then it stopped and the house was saved.

“They can’t believe it, how it could have happened.

“I’m just excited we’re alive, it’s fantastic!”

Click PLAY below to hear the full interview

Image: David Bruggeman

Natalie Peters & Erin Molan
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