A farmer who faced death as a ring of fire descended on his rural Victorian property says his prized horse saved him by knocking him into a creek.
Anthony Sexton said he thought he was safe as he watched the fire burn through bushland behind his home in the the foothills of the Strzelecki Ranges.
“And then all of a sudden the cool change came in, the smoke came in, the sun went and my denial turned into panic,” Sexton was quoted in The Age as saying.
Armed with a cold beer and his horse Jeune Mark, the offspring of 1995 Melbourne Cup winner Jeune, Sexton began walking.
But just a few hundred metres down the road, he was confronted by a wall of flames.
“I thought we’d turn around and try and race back but the fire … came down from the hill, and we were just bloody engulfed, and I just thought to myself, ‘This is where I’m going to die,'” Sexton said.
And then the remarkable happened: Jeune Mark knocked Sexton over a guard rail and sent him tumbling into Traralgon Creek, where he lay alone for two hours as the inferno burned around him.
When he finally emerged, everything but his prized horse had been burned to the ground.
“I honestly thought that [Jeune Mark] was going to be dead, considering the flames that he had to run through,” Sexton said.
The horse suffered burns around his eyes and nose.
The fire was still burning on sections of Sexton’s 130-year-old farmhouse yesterday. Report courtesy ninemsn staff