We’re running for our lives: TimesLIVE team caught up in Buffalo Bay fire evacuation

Reporter Petru Saal and photographer Esa Alexander were ordered to leave with all residents and firefighters.

In a WhatsApp message from the beach‚ Saal said:

“Residents and fire team assembled at the beach. Tensions and high and everyone is scared‚ us too. To hurriedly pack a few belongings into your car and leave everything else behind is heartbreaking.

“The look of desperation and despair is in everyone’s eyes. Some people are standing on the beach and others are in their cars.

“’Where do you go to?’ one Buffalo Bay resident asked me. She smiles but it’s a nervous smile. It’s an ‘I fear for my life’ smile.

“Some were using their last bit of time to save their property by hosing it down.

“So many thoughts are going through my mind and I am not even from here. Will we make it? Does chasing the story come at a cost? Yes. There are many like us in Syria‚ Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Firefighters are beyond tired. They have been working around the clock to save lives and property. Thick‚ dark smoke hangs over Buffalo Bay. The seas are rough and that is supposed to be our shelter space.

“I hope we all make it.”

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