BLACK Friday became a real-life experience for heroic truck driver Jason Nichols when he was delivering water to firefighters during the height of a blaze along the Tasman Peninsula in Tasmania.
It was Friday, January 4, when fires broke out which ended up destroying more than 80 buildings at Dunalley about 45km from Hobart.
Many parts of nearby Forcett were on fire and Jason, who works for Deegs Water Transport, was there around noon with 14,500 litres of water in the truck's tank.
"I was delivering the water with my friend and co-worker Ashley Zanol while driving Tony and Jill Deegans water tanker to Tasmanian Fire Service trucks fighting the fires.
We were east of Forcett and there was fire all around the truck and it lost an airline from the heat which forced the brakes to lock. It was very hot and scary.
We managed to pump some water to the brave firefighters but then the fire crossed the highway in front of us," Jason told Big Rigs when we saw him at the town of Sorell a few days after the incident as he was delivering more water to SES workers.
When I saw Jason he was driving another Isuzu.
Jason managed to snap some pics and video the incident which could easily have claimed his life.
The 39-year-old Jason said that there was no public water supply to the Tasman Peninsula past Sorell which made the job of firefighters more difficult.
"I have been doing this job for four years and deliver a lot of water. While the fires are part of life in the dry heat, this one was the worst I have seen. It was hairy at times," he said.
Jason is just one of many truck drivers who performed brave acts during the Tasmanian fires which received national and even international publicity.
But Jason won't accept being called a hero himself instead he praised the firefighters who were on the front line.
"They are the real heroes and we just try and help them," he said.
On January 7 Prime Minister Julia Gillard visited parts of south-east Tasmania to inspect damage caused by the fires which swept through the south east of Tasmania from Forcett and along the Tasman Peninsula.
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