The locals thought they would die huddled in the small fire station in their NSW community during an "apocalyptic" bush fire that looked like a freight train and rained down coals and soot.
While some residents fled early Friday, Linda Birch was among those who took refuge in the city's metal fire station.
The smoke soon slipped under the doors of the shed as the embers bombed the air vents.
"It was not a bush fire, it was a fire storm," she told AAP.
"The ferocity of this storm was that huge that we also had to put masks inside the hangar."
Birch admitted that she thought she was going to die, qualifying the situation as "apocalyptic". "The sound was like a freight train, we could not hear ourselves, we could not talk, we just reacted," said Birch.
Captain Torrington RFS Greg Kneipp and his deputy, his father Bob, have been fighting the fire since the beginning, two weeks ago, with a few days off between the two.
They were grateful for the support provided by city and state teams, aerial bombardments and those who carried water to the station to fill trucks.
"It would be the worst fire and I'm 47 in the RFS. This is by far the case and it is only so serious that because of the drought, Bob Kneipp said AAP.
He said the camaraderie of the fire department was one of the reasons he had stayed in the RFS, but he noticed that young people were less likely to sign up. "We are a big happy family," he said.