The crews were trapped between flames down a road in South Nowra and toxic smoke began to fill their cabins.
Mr Outred, from the Terrigal Fire Station, felt his team had run out of options.
“I only had a very short amount of time and pretty much sent her a text saying I loved her and I wasn’t going to be coming home.”
At her daughter’s home in Fern Bay, four hours from Nowra, Mrs Outred started to panic.
“My first thought was, ‘This is it. This is it, he’s not going to come back to me,’ ” Mrs Outred said from her home on the Central Coast.
She described the traumatic events of what happened on “the worst day of our lives”.
Strike Team Golf drove down a no-through road to reach a property about two kilometres away. One kilometre into the drive, the crews lost visibility as an ember attack surrounded the fire trucks.
Mr Outred described the fire as an “unstoppable force”.
“It came from about 200 metres away in, no joke, about five seconds, there was little to no time to actually escape … Fortunately enough my strike team leader and my pump leader had experience on some things like that and I listened to their directions and I believe that’s what got us out of there safely.”
Kayle Barton, the deputy captain of the Terrigal NSW Fire and Rescue crew, radioed for assistance attempting to make contact through multiple channels. He eventually got a response from one of the local fire and rescue channels.
Together, the crew decided it was too dangerous to stay inside the truck while it was on fire. They discussed how they would exit the vehicle into the extreme heat and fire as the toxic smoke became overwhelming in the cabin. Mr Barton then made a lifesaving call, instructing the crew to get out of the truck, put on breathing apparatus and escape on foot together.
Mr Barton gave their location to the radio receiver and said their truck and another were “inoperable”.
“We have been overrun, our trucks will not move. Our trucks are catching alight. We need immediate assistance … We are sheltering in the vehicle. We do not know how much longer we will be able to shelter. The main fire front has passed – we are considering using BA [breathing apparatus] to go out on foot,” Mr Barton said.
Mrs Outred credits him with her son’s survival.
For 13 minutes she thought her son had become the latest person to die in the NSW bushfires.
“We got another text that said, ‘Survived and waiting for evacuation’ and we just waited and hoped that they would find them to be evacuated.”
It was another two hours until she heard her son’s voice, which she describes as a miracle.
Mr Outred was calling from an emergency phone, having left his in the truck. He was taken to hospital, with the other members of his team, as a precaution.
When he arrived back at Terrigal Fire Station the following day, Mrs Outred said she couldn’t hold him any tighter.
“I remember just opening the door and seeing him. And as a mother, you know, I couldn’t hold him any tighter. My heart was against his heart and I was saying ‘It’s a mother’s love, you’re here.’
“Everybody’s told me to delete the text. I can’t delete the text because if I delete the text it’s like I’ve let go of him at that moment that might have been … For those that have lost, I can’t even imagine the pain,” Mrs Outred said.
“To have lost somebody in a fire, a fireman that’s dedicating his life for others and being of service, they’re heroes. True heroes.”
Audio/Video Journalist at The Sydney Morning Herald