News

Warwick firefighter showed bravery in wake of disaster

MEDAL HONOURS: Warwick senior firefighter Michael Coombes received the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for his work in Christchurch.
MEDAL HONOURS: Warwick senior firefighter Michael Coombes received the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal for his work in Christchurch. Samantha Oneil

WHEN tragedy struck Christchurch in 2011, 70 brave personnel from a Queensland Fire and Rescue specialist team answered the call for help.

One of these was Warwick senior firefighter Michael Coombes.

Mr Coombes has now received recognition for his hard work and dedication after being presented with the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal.

The urban search and rescue specialist unit arrived in Christchurch on February 23, the day after the 6.3 magnitude earthquake tore apart the city.

The team worked 12-hour days clawing through rubble in search of survivors while about 300 aftershocks rocked the city.

"It's pretty scary when the building you are searching starts to shake," Mr Coombes said.

"You don't give up because miracles happen and there is always a chance you will find somebody in that rubble."

Mr Coombes recalled the destruction that met the unit upon arrival.

"Every building had some kind of damage," he said.

"It was just a total devastation of the city area.

"The whole area had been evacuated with the exception of emergency personnel."

Mr Coombes and his team worked on the CTV building, a six-storey building that had collapsed with the highest number of people missing.

Of the 185 people killed, 115 were retrieved by the unit from the building.

The team worked 12-hour shifts alongside specialist units from the United States, Japan, China, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.

One of the lasting memories Mr Coombes had from his experience was the arrival at the airport.

"When we walked through the airport arrival lounge, there was a huge round of applause," Mr Coombes said.

"It just blew us away. After the devastation they had been through, they were just glad to see us."

The Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Corrective Services Bill Byrne presented Mr Coombes with the medal on January 6.

Mr Coombes, who has been a firefighter for 15 years and a part of the specialist unit for nine years, said he was honoured to receive the medal.

"We were just there doing what we are trained for," he said.

"We just do our job like any other person."

Topics:  bravery disaster warwick



Six hideaway bars to escape winter chill

THE last season of GoT finally uttered the words we’ve been waiting six seasons to hear and now that the weather has cooled down in Brisbane, “winter is here.”

Our six art gallery picks for a creative day out

Queensland's Gallery of Modern Art always has a fun, exciting and interesting exhibition on show for the whole family to enjoy.

YOU'D be mistaken in thinking Brisbane wasn't an arty city.

Brisbane's arts and culture events centre stage

You loved the film, now you're about to love the musical. Don't miss The Bodyguard The Musical in Brisbane this July.

THE arts and culture events you don't want to miss.

Homewares stores to fulfil your Instagram dreams

No Caption

You too can become an Insta-star with these fab stores.

Date nights under $50

Nothing is more romantic than a picnic with a cracking view.

NOT every date has to cost you a bomb.

Top 10 Brisbane experiences to cross off your bucket list

Do yourself a favour and get amongst the food truck scene. Eat Street is a great place to start.

A GOOD bucket list doesn’t have to span continents or cost millions.

Six mega sporting events you need to be at this year

Don't miss all the action trackside this season.

IF THERE is one thing Brisbane does damn well, it’s play host.

Groovy event returns bigger and better than ever

This year's Grooving in the Grove is set to be bigger and better than ever.

Organisers excited for third Grooving in the Grove in Inglewood

Draft budget under discussion by council

Southern Downs Regional Council will discuss draft budget submissions in a special meeting this morning.

Submission to be tabled in special meeting

BIG FREEZE: First frosts for Southern Downs this week

Frosty grass

It's take a while to get here, but the first frost is not far away

Local Partners

Six things you never knew about Men in Black

IT’S been 20 years since Men in Black first hit cinemas. Makes you feel old, doesn’t it?

10 strange stories behind famous sex scenes

Khaleesi and Khal Drogo in a steamy moment.

Every set has their own way of filming sex scenes

HBO spills new details on Game of Thrones’ final season

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season will only have six episodes.

New details about what to expect from the eighth, final instalment.

Karl’s rant on Corby: ‘Made to look like idiots’

Karl Stefanovic is sick of hearing about Schapelle Corby.

Today co-host launched a tirade against Schapelle Corby media circus

Game on at new arcade in Warwick

PLAY ON: Elizabeth Dennis gives the new arcade games at Video Ezy a shot.

New games arcade unveiled at Video Ezy

Big Pineapple festival safety concerns as 100s walk home

LONG WALK HOME: Many festival goers opted to take a dangerous walk home due to transport difficulty following the Big Pineapple Festival in Woombye on Saturday.

Big Pineapple festival-goers have braved dangerous walks home

Shot at the live shows slips through Sally's fingers

Sally Skelton and Bojesse Pigram pictured after their battle performance on The Voice.

Sunshine Coast singer's dramatic elimination from The Voice

New $46.7m counter-terrorism facility to be built in Wacol

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, pictured with Police Commisioner Ian Stewart, has announced plans to build a new counter-terrorism facility in Wacol.

The facility will be built over three years.

Home to a sex worker: Sordid history of iconic Coast shed

Milojevic Djordjevic's daughter Linda at the derelict shed on Yandina-Coolum Road.

The shed was once a liveable 'barrack'.

This is real estate's billion-dollar man

Bob Wolff at AREC with John McGrath of McGrath Real Estate.

They don’t call him the “Billion dollar man” for nothing

Man's amazing comeback from monster crisis

Pat O'Driscoll agents Penny Keating and Doug Webber sold 56 Agnes St, The Range at auction over the weekend.

NOT long ago, he sold his possessions to pay staff. Now he's back.

Report reveals progress on $319m airport upgrade

Aerials of the Sunshine Coast.Jetstar plane in front of the Susnhine Coast terminal, Sunshine Coast Airport.

Over two dozen government approvals needed for airport expansion

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!