McGrath protects Waugh's home from bushfire

Published Dec 5, 2002


Sydney - When a bushfire threatened to destroy the home of Australian test cricket captain Steve Waugh, team-mate Glenn McGrath answered a plea from Waugh's wife to help save the family home.

McGrath spent six hours protecting Waugh's house from bushfires that have ravaged the Sydney area. McGrath showed up at the house after answering a plea from Waugh's frightened wife Lynette, who was home alone with her three young children as the fire front closed in late on Wednesday.

McGrath wrapped a mask around his face to combat thick smoke and keep the fire at bay while Waugh raced to get home from a promotional visit to Melbourne.

Waugh managed to get a late-night flight, but was halted by roadblocks near his property at Alfords Point on Sydney's southern suburbs. So he put on his jogging shoes and started running down the road towards his house until he was recognised by a firefighting crew and driven the rest of the way.

He arrived home at 11pm, only to find that McGrath had been on the scene since 5pm helping Lynette and her father Phil Dowdy fight the fires.

McGrath stayed until after midnight and Waugh's home was not damaged.

"I got the phone call yesterday afternoon that Steve was down in Melbourne and Lynette was home with the kids by herself," McGrath said. "I headed over there to help out or do what I could.

"The fire came up towards the back end of the house. We kept an eye on embers flying in the yard and over the roof, looked out for spot fires, that kind of thing.

"I had a bit of a mask just to stop a bit of smoke but I inhaled quite a bit so I was feeling a bit shabby this morning."

He said the main fire front passed within 30 or 40 meters of the house, but the house was in danger from flying embers.

"The radio was going the whole time so we sort of knew what was happening around the area," said McGrath. "A few houses had gone up so that was a bit scary." - Sapa-AP

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