ONE person is dead and many others homeless after Bendigo endured its most horrific weekend in history.Living up to its frightening threat, fire razed at least 14 homes across the western suburbs, and took countless sheds and vehicles with it. Flames more than 15 metres high tore through buildings and licked at the side of others as they made their way through Maiden Gully, West Bendigo, California Gully, Long Gully and Eaglehawk.On rural properties near Redesdale it was a similar story, with a fierce inferno fuelled by strong winds and searing heat tearing through more than 10,000 hectares, consuming livestock and property in its path.The leathered, charcoaled faces of firefighters were everywhere as strike teams did all they could to save anything in the line of fire.More than 300 fought to contain the Bendigo inferno, while 289 tackled the Redesdale blaze, along with 46 trucks, three bulldozers, four graders and six aircraft.In Bendigo, 50 people sought refuge at the emergency response centre in Kangaroo Flat, while many others fled to the safety of friends and family as the threat of fire hovered early into Sunday morning.Reports of people fleeing burning homes, others staying to defend and triumph over tragedy have started filtering through the community.“In terms of the impact and effect on people’s lives and what these people unfortunately have gone through, and the extent . . . it’s just a nightmare,” city director of community well-being Barry Secombe said.Across Victoria, 108 people have been confirmed dead, more than 750 homes have been destroyed and hundreds of community facilities have burnt to the ground.A 48-year-old Bendigo man perished in the local fires.The state-wide toll has already surpassed the 47 deaths in Victoria in the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires.The Black Friday blaze in 1939, which claimed 71 lives, and the overall death toll of 75 from the Ash Wednesday blazes were previously the worst on record. The State Government yesterday announced a 2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal Fund, with the state and federal governments donating $2 million apiece, in addition to the $10 million Community Recovery Fund announced by the Federal Government. “Hell and all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria,” Prime Minsiter Kevin Rudd said.“Many good people now lie dead. Many others lie injured. “This is an appalling tragedy.”Last night, fires were still raging out of control in Gippsland, the north-east of the state, Kinglake, Kilmore and the Yarra Valley.