Three states fire alert – charges laid, firefighter has heart attack

Three states fire alert – charges laid,firefighter has heart attack

13 December 2006

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Australia — Three states are on bushfire alert around Australia and conditionsare tipped to worsen over the next few days.

Last night one home was destroyed in Perth and today Prime Minister JohnHoward will visit fire ravaged areas in the alpine regions of Victoria where400,000 hectares have been destroyed.

Howard will also visit Tasmania, a state still on high alert, where fireshave burnt out 11,000 hectares and more than a dozen homes have been lost.

In Perth 17 fire fighting crews from Fire and Rescue Service, the Bush FireService and the Department of Conservation and Land Management were mopping up afire in the foothills of Perth last night.

Firefighters worked through the night and several sustained serious injuries.Two properties were caught up in the blaze.

One house is confirmed to have been destroyed with the second sustainingsignificant damage.

Initially it was believed both fires had been started from evaporativeair-conditioners. Residents have been advised to turn evaporativeair-conditioners off, but keep water running in the system and to be aware ofember attacks and spot fires.

But Perth arson squad detectives have since charged a 58 year old man withlighting a fire that destroyed one house and damaged a second dwelling atKalamunda yesterday

The bushfire travelled up Kalamunda hill around 12.30pm and burnt out 50hectares of the Kalamunda Regional Park and gutted a Persimmon Place residenceand substantially damaged another.

Fire and Rescue crews managed to bring the blaze under control but three firefighters were injured during the ordeal; one suffered a heart attack and twoothers required medical treatment for smoke inhalation.

After police investigations and public assistance a 58 year old man wasinterviewed. It is alleged that the man had set fire to garden refuse at therear of his property and the flames travelled into bushland adjacent to theKalamunda Reserve.

He has been charged with Wilfully Lighting a Fire and will be summonsed toappear in the Midland Magistrate’s Court at a later date.

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