An Australian Man Survived A Wildfire By Hiding Out In A Homemade Kiln He Made Days Before

'I could have (died) if I hadn't thought about plan B,' said Steve Harrison.

Helicopters dump water on bushfires as they approach homes located on the outskirts of the town of Bargo on December 21, 2019 in Sydney
David Gray / Getty Images

'I could have (died) if I hadn't thought about plan B,' said Steve Harrison.

An Australian man survived a wildfire that burned his town to the ground by hiding out in a kiln he had made just a few days before, CNN reports.

Steve Harrison, 67, lives in the town of Balmoral, near Sydney in New South Wales. Harrison is a potter, and his pottery skills quite literally saved his life. That’s because just a few days ago he built his own kiln, which would later protect him from the deadly wildfires that are currently ravaging Australia.

As the fires closed in on his home, Harrison went to retrieve whatever he could. However, he realized, once it was too late, that he couldn’t safely evacuate.

“I ran to my [pickup truck] but my [yard] was already on fire, the driveway was on fire, the road was on fire so I couldn’t evacuate,” he said.

Fortunately, his salvation came in the kiln he had made just hours before the fire.

“The day before I had actually built myself a small kiln down the back — a coffin-sized kiln — just big enough for me to crawl inside,” he said.

Harrison would spend the next hour inside the object that came perilously close to being his actual coffin. As the flames raged around him, Harrison says he was terrified. Fortunately, he had a fire blanket, a fire extinguisher, and a bottle of water with him — a Plan B, he calls it, that saved his life.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 22: Tributes for volunteers Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O'Dwyer are seen at Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade on December 22, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. The men died when their truck overturned near the town of Buxton late on Thursday when a tree fell into their path. A catastrophic fire danger warning has been issued for the greater Sydney region, the Illawarra and southern ranges as hot, windy conditions continue to hamper firefighting efforts across NSW. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian declared a state of emergency on Thursday, the second state of emergency declared in NSW since the start of the bushfire season. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)
  Jenny Evans / Getty Images

Though he survived, Harrison doesn’t have a home to return to. Indeed, the entire town of Balmoral, which at one time housed about 400 people in about 150 properties, is now burned to the ground.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed that Balmoral is all but gone.

“We’ve got the devastating news there’s not much left in the town of Balmoral… It could take years to rebuild,” she said.

Meanwhile, it seems that some in Balmoral are accusing firefighters of not doing enough to save the town. In an emotional statement, a firefighter identified only as “Greg” fought back against those claims.

“The suggestion that we failed in defending that village… I don’t know how the other guys will take that, but for me personally — I’m quite offended at the suggestion that we lost that village because we didn’t. I had mates hospitalized,” he said.

A brief change in the weather is expected to give firefighters a much-needed upper hand in containing and dousing the fires. However, they’ll have to work quickly, as searing-hot temperatures are expected to return in a few days.