Exploding cars, evacuated pets and the very real threat of shop fronts going up in flames - these are just some of the stories staff from businesses along Breese Parade and the surrounding streets have shared after yesterday afternoon's terrifying fires in downtown Forster.
Andrew Rommery from Repco told of the moment it all went still before the wind changed and the fire that had been burning along the Southern Parkway throughout the day was suddenly upon them.
"It was like a flash," he said.
"All out the front here was actually on fire."
With gas bottles in front of the store and various oils, chemicals and flammable liquids inside the premises, he said the prospect of the shop catching fire was a real concern.
Luckily for Repco and other businesses along Breese Parade, that prospect didn't eventuate as firefighters worked to contain the blaze.
Meanwhile, in Enterprise Court, shop assistant at Scotty's Pet Barn, Jayden Edmunds said he and a fellow colleague were taken by surprise when spot fires started breaking out around the store at approximately 4:45pm.
With the safety of the animals inside to think about, the boys were fortunate to have a regular customer in store at the time who loaded the rabbits, guinea pigs and birds into their car and took them home while the boys fought the flames with a fire hose.
Jayden said they were very grateful for the help they received from customers and staff from nearby shops.
"The animals wouldn't have lasted," he said.
"I think we got lucky in terms of how close the fires got."
Not so lucky was disability services provider Lifestyle Solutions, who lost three cars in the blaze when the fire swept up the causeway behind their Boona Street premises.
Jayden was still at Scotty's Pet Barn when the cars exploded and said the sound "was like a bomb going off."
Manager of Lifestyle Solutions, Heather Smith, said the loss of three of their customer transport vehicles came as a blow.
"We didn't have time to do anything," she said.
"We managed to save four cars but lost three."
However, with the vehicles covered by insurance and no structural damage to the premises, she felt grateful the outcome wasn't worse.
"Everybody was evacuated and no one was hurt," she said.
With hot and dry conditions predicted again today, businesses in the area will continue to remain on guard, but most believe the worst is behind them.
"The main bit of fuel has burnt," Mr Rommery said.
"We'll keep monitoring today," Ian Job from BCF added.
"The firies did an amazing job."
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