AS THE Lawrence RFS truck made its way toward the fire ground, rookie firefighter Kaitlyn Ward was terrified.
"As soon as you went over the old Harwood bridge you could see this mass amount of smoke," she said.
"It was unbelievable. It was just this intense, big, black ball of smoke that was just moving in circles. I've never seen anything like that before in my life."
An hour earlier, an emergency warning level had been issued after the Myall Creek Road fire took a run straight for the villages of Ashby, Ashby Heights, Tullymorgan and surrounding areas.
"We drove up Crisp Drive, Ashby Heights and went straight down Whipbird Drive to the first house at the end," she said.
Within minutes, the fire arrived.
"I took one look at those flames and I'd never been so scared in my life. They came up as high as the telegraph pole," she said.
Listen to Kaitlyn tell her full story in the episode 'One Big Family' from the Daily Examiner's On The Frontline podcast.