Great Keppel Island as seen from Kinka Beach

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Sunday, 22 Feb 2009

Glen Crispy (just a little bit burnt around the edges) re-opens today

Too late to leave. The Azzopardi caravan has nowhere to go
Too late to leave. The Azzopardi
caravan has nowhere to go

Karen and Charlie Azzopardi fought Victoria's Saturday, Feb 7 fire storm to save their pretty Glen Cromie Caravan Park, near Drouin in Gippsland Victoria against impossible odds. They risked their lives and almost lost their livelihood but they certainly have not lost their sense of humor.

"We are thinking of re-naming the park", Karen said to GoSee today

"Yes we think Glen Crispy is good. You know just a little bit burnt around the edges".

Then the smile was in her voice and GoSee remembered with admiration considering the circumstances that Karen and Charlie enjoy a joke.

They have achieved today Monday, March  23 is re-open day for Glen Crispy - sorry Glen Cromie. "We are confident", Karen said. Which has to be the understatement of the year after a terrifying experience. Charlie has mowed the extensive green grass and yesterday when GoSee became the first campers since the fires Charlie relit the gas hotwater system on the shower block.

The stream is running and there is a new 95,000 litre water tank high on the ridge behind Glen Comie to help visitors clean-up their act. As it turned out GoSee did something useful as we became the guinea pigs for getting the temperature right in the showers. We can report that we  left  showered and shaven after a peaceful night in the  new GoSee Discovery pop-top.
Charlie pulls  out a caravan as the van next to it explodes
Charlie pulls out a caravan as the van next to it explodes

Once again the fire storm came at incredible speed. GoSee has heard this again and again from survivors of the huge fire fronts which ignited Victoria from near Drouin in Gippsland to west of Yea and Kinglake and throughout the Yarra Valley.

"It came so fast", Karen said. "We were prepared". "Charlie is in the CFA and we are both not un-used to fires".

"We have a substantial fire plan for Glen Cromie which includes a 1400 litre water tanker truck". "But this was really scary".

"We had half an hour and then suddenly we only had seven minutes". "We had our caravan hooked up but it was just too late to leave". "We would never have got out", Karen said.

"So we had to fight it and in doing that we saved our caravan park", she said

"We planned ahead and had evacuated everybody from Glen Cromie that morning and sent our daughter who is afraid of fire out early too."

"We lost six caravans". "Of the caravans that went only frames are still standing".

Hell at the gates. Glen Cromie entrance
Hell at the gates. Glen Cromie entrance

"Charlie and Brian, our caretaker, moved caravans from the end of the row to create a firebreak". "Our infrastructure has been damaged, but we still have green grass and the amenities blocks are untouched", Karen said.

See the amazing photo of Charlie (above left) pulling out an annual caravan to make a fire break just as the caravan next door exploded.

As Karen says - "He will not need to trim his eyebrows for a while now!!"

"We would like to thank all those caravan park owners and people who love Glen

Cromie who sent us best wishes and offers of help. It has been amazing", Karen said.

Editor's Note: Amazing fire storm pictures courtesy of Charlie and Karen Azzopardi.

For more information
contact: Garth Morrison
Editor Go See Australia and Go See New Zealand Directory
The fire storm came so quickly
The fire storm came so quickly
GoSee Glen Cromie campsite rates high among our list of peaceful places
GoSee Glen Cromie campsite rates high among our list of peaceful places

Glen Cromie Caravan Park
Just a bit singed, but we hope to be back in operations on 23rd March 2009
Call us then
Glen Cromie Caravan Park
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