Victorian firefighter George Calleja reflects on his strike team's battle in Greta

THE FOLLOWING MORNING: George Calleja (Bamawm Extension Fire Brigade captain) and Fred Turner (NSW RFS group officer Hunter Valley) pictured at the Hunter Valley RFS head quarters on Wednesday morning.
THE FOLLOWING MORNING: George Calleja (Bamawm Extension Fire Brigade captain) and Fred Turner (NSW RFS group officer Hunter Valley) pictured at the Hunter Valley RFS head quarters on Wednesday morning.

George Calleja is no stranger to bushfire conditions.

Serving as the Bamawm Extension Fire Brigade Captain the lively identity continues to lead the 32-member 2092 strike team, one of many deployed from Victoria, to assist with fires across the Singleton region this week.

"We arrived on Monday night and then by Tuesday we were sent straight to Greta or 'Gretta' as we Victorians call it," Mr Calleja told the Singleton Argus on Wednesday morning.

VISITING THE VALLEY: The CFA's 2092 strike team, made up of five fire trucks from nine Victorian based brigades, pictured at the Hunter Valley RFS headquarters near Bulga.

VISITING THE VALLEY: The CFA's 2092 strike team, made up of five fire trucks from nine Victorian based brigades, pictured at the Hunter Valley RFS headquarters near Bulga.

To help set the scene, an emergency warning had been sent out at 4:30pm to Greta residents advising those in the area to seek shelter. By that time a bushfire was located on Harper Street and bound for Hollingshed Street.

"Once we arrived we thought to ourselves, 's-t has hit the fan'," he continued.

"Unfortunately by the time we arrived there one of the sheds had gone up already so we couldn't get to that but the RFS boys got some of the pumpers through there.

TERRIFIC TEN: Shaun Halls, Brett Kyne, Vaughan Thomas, Cath Cornford, David Watson, Mark Jones, George Calleja, Chris Tooley, Michael Panayi and Dave Wright were all assisted by NSW RFS members when battling the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. A decade on, it was their time to return the favour.

TERRIFIC TEN: Shaun Halls, Brett Kyne, Vaughan Thomas, Cath Cornford, David Watson, Mark Jones, George Calleja, Chris Tooley, Michael Panayi and Dave Wright were all assisted by NSW RFS members when battling the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires. A decade on, it was their time to return the favour.

"I then sent some tankers in to support them and get the sheds under control."

Crews on the ground were aided by four aircraft until 7:10pm.

However the dust had not settled just yet according to the visiting leader.

ROADSIDE: Images from the Greta bushfire on Tuesday afternoon.

ROADSIDE: Images from the Greta bushfire on Tuesday afternoon.

"Within two or three hours we had it quite established and we were blacking out but then we saw some smoke on a property at Harper Road," he concluded.

"We went to the backyard to investigate but unfortunately by that time we found a ride-on lawn mower which had caught on fire.

"There was also a kid's trampoline, the backyard fence and then the entire backyard was on fire.

"But I'm very proud of my team because we were able to save that house."

Prior to this week, Mr Calleja admits that the 1997 Sydney bushfires were the furthest disaster he had attended since the beginning of his career in 1989.

MEANWHILE the 2092 strike team partook on a tour of the Hunter Valley RFS headquarters in Bulga this morning.