The soon-to-be father lost his life when a fire-tornado overturned the 8-tonne fire truck he was in with two other people in Australia.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on January 15, 2020. It has since been updated.
The cruel turn of events from the Australian bushfire is making it harder for the rest of the world to know about them and not be able to help first hand. Heartbreaking pieces of news related to families being torn apart and the grief that follows are making us wonder how generous and dutiful one has to be to put service before self.
A volunteer firefighter, Samuel McPaul, lost his life fighting a raging fire when a fiery “freak weather event” flipped an eight-tonne Rural Fire Service truck outside Albury on the southern NSW border, reports The Daily Telegraph.
The newlywed firefighter embraced his wife, Megan, and “kissed their unborn child” before heading out to defend his community, a relative said. “She is just so overwhelmed and concerned for the families (of the other crew members),” she said. Just like her brave husband, Megan was courageous and empathetic enough to be worried and concerned about the families of other crew members. In a circumstance of unfathomable grief, she took it on herself to motivate the crew members and pacify them.
“She doesn’t want them to feel guilty. It was a freak accident, no one did anything wrong,” the relative added.
The bereaved relative who wished to remain unnamed revealed that Megan was still trying to process the grief but was so worried about the others who were at the scene. “Sam was never left alone, it was over quickly but there was always someone with him,” the relative said. She added that the young couple, whose baby will be born in May, was “so in love.”
“Sam is an only child, his mum raised him,” she also said. “He gave so much to the community, he coached basketball, he gave so much.”
The nightmare blaze began when lightning struck in a dry and rugged terrain outside Jingellic, near Albury. Samuel was with the Culcairn North West brigade as they fought to save properties along the river. In the process, they got caught in a gush of fiery-wave.
“They decided to move away from that area and quite unexpectedly, very suddenly, they experienced extreme winds and what could only be described as a fire tornado,” Superintendent Patrick Westwood said.
“Samuel leaves behind a family that is now without a father and a husband,” Superintendent Westwood said, holding back tears. “He was trained and doing everything right on the day when something went wrong,” quoted The Daily Telegraph. He added that Samuel was a “beautiful young man” who was in the service for “all the right reasons.”
He went on to say, “He leaves behind a beautiful wife who was pregnant with their first child which was due on the first of May."
“As you would expect the family is grieving and it’s been a very difficult night and I don’t think the comprehension has set in yet on the enormity of the loss,” he confessed.
We wish strength and love for Megan.