John Holmes died at the fire front after serving the RFS for 50 years

John Holmes served in the RFS for decades. Photo: Contributed

The smell of smoke from the Bean Creek fire sat heavy in the morning air at Mallanganee today as the local RFS unit mourned the loss of one of its members.

The NSW Rural Fire Service said the RFS “suffered a great loss with the tragic passing of senior deputy captain John Holmes”.

John was battling the Bean Creek Fire, about 15km north of Bonalbo, when he had a heart attack yesterday, Saturday, October 14.

Mallanganee RFS Brigade captain Neville O’Malley said, “they did everything they could for John on the fire front”.

John joined the Mallanganee RFS Brigade in 1971.

His unwavering commitment to the RFS was recognised with a Life Membership in June last year marking an inspirational volunteer career of more than five decades.

He was a role model and mentor to many, the result of his skills and hard work.

John Holmes and his partner Mavis Goodlad with their Lifetime Achievement awards with Mallanganee RFS captain Neville O’Malley.

John’s legacy will forever be etched in the history of the RFS and the Mallanganee Brigade, NSW RFS said.

“As captain of the brigade, I would like to thank my members for the efforts yesterday,” Mr O’Malley said.

“I also thank the other crews on the fire line, Bonalbo, Woodenbong and Old Bonalbo.

“You people are the best. It was a hard day but you all did what you could to help another member.

“Thanks to the RFS. We pressed the Emergency button and the radio channel was cleared for just us so we could organise as much help as needed. And for supporting us after the incident.”

John’s partner Mavis Goodlad is also part of the Mallanganee RFS.

Flags were lowered to half mast across the state including at Kyogle RFS headquarters today.

Flags at Kyogle RFS Headquarters fly at half mast in honour of John Holmes.
Awards for our brigade crews who were there when the community needed them most

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