Shane Paratene, Kane Hippolite and Cairo Preston were the first to raise the alarm and then try and fight the Walter's Bluff fire. Photo: Charles Anderson

The men who raised the alarm on the Walter’s Bluff fire


Cairo Preston was sitting in his backyard on Milton St, looking up at Walter’s Bluff thinking how terrible it would be if the whole hillside went up in flames.

“Next moment, ‘boom’ it went.”

Cairo tried to raise the alarm.

I was saying ‘f***, f***. f***’, I’ve got to wake mum up. I was looking at it in la la land. Then I was like ‘dad, dad, ‘dad,’. He just ran to get a bucket.”

Shane Paratene didn’t think, he just grabbed a bucked and scaled the hill but when he reached it, he knew his bucket was not going to do.

“It was hot. It was crazy hot.”

He grabbed his neighbour’s hose and started dampening down around the nearby properties while Cairo called the emergency services.

“When you do a lot of hangis you know when a fire is going to start,” said Shane.

Firefighters dampen down the blaze on Walter's Bluff. Photo: Evan Barnes
Firefighters dampen down the blaze on Walter’s Bluff. Photo: Evan Barnes

A man was arrested shortly after for disorderly behaviour.

“The police did the Sonny Bill on him and another spear tackled him.”

The man was later released.