News

Firie who helped rescue 76 from Palace tragedy retires

MORE FAMILY TIME: Childers’ Queensland Fire and Emergency Services captain Col Santacaterina retires after 35 years of service. His last day will be Monday.
MORE FAMILY TIME: Childers’ Queensland Fire and Emergency Services captain Col Santacaterina retires after 35 years of service. His last day will be Monday. Matthew Mcinerney

HE STARTED fighting fires when a pair of shorts was acceptable attire and he led the recovery during Childers' worst fire, but the time has finally come for Col "Curl" Santacaterina to hang up the hose for the last time.

Mr Santacaterina's firefighting career will end Tuesday, when the auxiliary captain is forced into retirement from the urban brigade due to his age.

Auxiliary firefighters must retire when they turn 65, and November 11 doubles as Mr Santacaterina's birthday.

"If I didn't have to retire, I wouldn't," Mr Santacaterina said.

"I still love it, but who wants a 70-year-old climbing a building at 3am?"

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services will honour the Bundy Sugar train driver at a function at Isis Cultural Centre on Saturday night, but it's what he does next Wednesday that has Mr Santacaterina most concerned.

"We usually meet on Wednesday nights, so I haven't had any off for years," Mr Santacaterina said.

"I've got no idea what I'm going to do - I don't even know what's on television."

I still love it, but who wants a 70-year-old climbing a building at 3am?

Mr Santacaterina was one of the first four firefighters to respond to the Palace Backpackers Hostel fire on June 23, 2000, and still rates the night as one of the worst of his life.

He helped rescue 76 people from the building, including 20 who were stranded on the roof, though the fire killed 15 people.

"I remember everything," he said.

"It was so foggy. I went past it on the main street about midnight and didn't even see it.

"There were only four of us there when we arrived with the truck and we thought 'holy s**t'.

"We knew we were in trouble."

The newly found spare time means he and wife Bev can spend more time with their two kids and four grandchildren, while the chance to enjoy a Christmas holiday has already excited the pair.

Topics:  childers, isis, palace hotel




Flowers still fighting cancer after 30 years

FULL OF FLOWERS: Angela Childs, Mary Leahy and Jill Chegwidden are ready for Daffodil Day at the Cancer Council office in Bundaberg.

Buy a bunch for cancer council

Give way failure at Takalvan St crash

CRASH: The accident scene on Takalvan St. Photo: Eliza Goetze / NewsMail

Two cars collided on Takalvan St about 11.30am today.

Latest deals and offers

Johnny Depp 'deeply respects' Amber Heard

Celebrity

Amber Heard gives away $7 million settlement to charity

The true cost of 60 Minutes debacle revealed

It's a bill that would make even a silk tied barrister blush

Kirk Douglas is defiant, fierce and still standing

VETERAN ACTOR: Kirk Douglas has had a long and varied career.

Kirk Douglas has out-lived almost all his contemporaries

The Hard Word reviews Kyzer Soze

Kyzer Soze are playing Brisbane tomorrow at the Crowbar in Fortitude Valley. Photo Contributed

Kyzer Soze summon the evil for this mighty slab of death metal

Britney Spears 'almost drowned' in Hawaii

Britney Spears has revealed she 'almost drowned' while on holiday

Doco reveals real story behind Black Hawk Down

Former Black Hawk pilot Mike Durant shares his story, which helped to inspire the movie Black Hawk Down, in the TV series No Man Left Behind.

FORMER pilot recounts ordeal which inspired a Hollywood movie.

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Coast building approvals at seven-year high: report

The the 2015/16 Development Indicators Annual Highlights Report documents local development activity that took place during the last financial year.

New report shows increasing development on the Sunshine Coast

Top honours for Mackay and Whitsunday builders

The Kerrisdale Gardens property from Paynter Dixon Queensland which won them Project of the Year.

Mackay and Whitsunday builders awarded top honours last night.

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.