Braidwood firefighter Tim Wimborne was enjoying a hot summer's day at the pool with his kids when the call came through alerting him to the horror crash.
He hurriedly called to a nearby parent to look after his children as he rushed to the fire station.
His colleague, Hayden Orford, had received the same alert.
"You’re not sure what you’re going to see, that’s the hardest bit," Mr Orford said.
What awaited them was the wreckage of three vehicles involved in a head-on collision on the Kings Highway. Passengers were still trapped inside, including Alanna Davis and her 13-year-old son Thomas 'TJ' Campagna.
TJ, Ms Davis and their family gathered at the Braidwood Fire Brigade on Saturday for the first time since the crash to thank the crew that helped save their lives.
Mr Wimborne and Mr Orford were part of a five-man team which also included deputy captain Steven Hockey, captain Phil McGrath and Stan Thistleton.
After a 29-year career as a firefighter, Mr Hockey has lost count of the number of crashes he has attended on the Kings Highway, many of them fatalities, but this one in particular stood out.
"When I arrived Thomas was in the back seat," Mr Hockey recalled.
"I could see by the state of his chest that he would have had injuries. You could see the seat belt mark and that was something that I had never seen before."
Having joined the brigade less than a year before the crash, it was the biggest job Mr Wimborne had been called to.
He was tasked with looking after Ms Davis while the crew worked to remove TJ from the wreckage.
"Tim did an excellent job sitting there and talking to her," Mr Hockey said.
"Getting people out of the car is sometimes the easiest part, keeping them steady and reassured is an important part of the job."
Mr Wimborne positioned Ms Davis' stretcher so she could see TJ, found her handbag, protected her from the dust whisked up by the helicopter which arrived for TJ and spoke to her about his own career as a photographer.
“I thought it was good just to keep her busy and to keep her updated on what I could see going on," Mr Wimborne said.
Ms Davis' father Geoff thanked the assembled firefighters and praised their professionalism and hard work to save his daughter and grandson.
"Anywhere else in the world I don't think we would have had the result we've had," Mr Davis said.
"All the volunteers, so many people that have contributed so much without any intent other than the welfare of those that were unfortunately hurt."
The firefighters said it was unusual for them to be able to meet the people they had previously rescued. They were incredibly thankful to have the opportunity.
“I wouldn’t say it’s closure because I’d still like to keep in contact and see how they get on," Mr Hockey said, visibly fighting back tears. "I know you've got a long way to go, but at least you're still here to do it."
"A lot of the jobs we get called to, that isn't the case."
Fire and Rescue NSW Superintendent Garry Tye said being able to share a positive outcome was vitally important to his staff.
"You get the chance to reconcile and to manage the incident and heal," Mr Tye said.
"Because the scars aren't always physical, or visible, sometimes scars aren't seen by all."
Ms Davis said TJ and the family would continue to reach out to those that have helped them since the crash.
"It helps us put pieces together, which is really important to us," she said.
"Now that we’re sort of over that crisis period we’re engaging with more people, and they’re all just bringing little bits of the puzzle together for us."