After three hours in 40 degree heat waiting to fill up in Kambalda, Harry was swapping Anzac biscuits for the use of a phone charger.

After a summer storm on Wednesday triggered widespread outages, Kalgoorlie-Boulder’s water supply, fuel stations, internet connections and communications services were impacted.

For Harry, who is currently in Kalgoorlie for work, it meant a 60km trip south to Kambalda on Thursday in the hope of getting fuel from the town’s only service station.

When he arrived at around 3pm, he found himself in a queue of 150 cars, waiting for hours in temperatures over 40C.

He spoke to Jo Trilling on ABC Radio Perth while still waiting in the line.

“The poor lady in front of me, she’s got a few kids in the car. It’s 43 degrees out here at the moment and this queue of cars is so long,” he said.

“I gave her some of my Anzac biscuits, and did a swap for the use of her car charger, because my phone had just completely died.”

He said mobile communications in Kalgoorlie-Boulder had also been difficult for the past few days.

“Mobile phone coverage is really important. Not everyone has a landline and just trying to get through to anybody’s been an absolute nightmare the last 24 hours,” he said.

Harry questioned why the emergency response hadn’t been faster, as medical centres have been forced to close and supermarkets without generators have had to dump food.

“The thing that really irks me at the moment is, we always see on the news reports about how the defence forces swinging into gear really quickly for Queenslanders after a storm.

“Pearce air base is only a one hour flight from Kalgoorlie. Why aren’t there people up here?”

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