Injured fire hero fights for compensation

Injured fire hero fights for compensation

19 October 2006

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Australia — A Darein River man who suffered severe burns while fighting afire that destroyed a neighbour’s property is gearing up to battle theauthorities for compensation.

Craig Hunnam, 36, says he agreed to help fight an out-of-control blaze withhis water-equipped truck in the Darwin River district on September 9 after arequest for assistance from local volunteers.

Mr Hunnam became trapped inside the cabin of his vehicle when the engine stoppedafter the fire turned back towards him suddenly.

The truck was engulfed in flames and Mr Hunnam spent three weeks in hospitalreceiving treatment for burns that required skin grafts.

His $15,000 truck was completely destroyed in the blaze and he is now locked ina dispute for compensation.

The Northern Territory News understands the NT Bushfire Council intends to fightthe compensation claim on the grounds that Mr Hunnam was not a registeredvolunteer. It is believed the Bushfire Council also disputes requesting MrHunnam’s assistance to fight the raging firefront.
Mr Hunnam said he considered himself lucky to be alive and just wanted to becompensated so he could get on with his life.

“When the flames went over the truck I thought I was stuffed for sure,” hesaid.

NT Bushfire Council director Steve Sutton said Mr Hunnam’s application forcompensation would be considered in due course.



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