Commitee apologises after man wrongly declared dead in official Hills bushfire review


Committee apologises after man wrongly declared dead in official Hills bushfire review

20 December 2014

published by www.perthnow.com


 Australia — A man who was wrongly declared dead in an official report into January’s Hills bushfire has been issued a formal apology by the State Emergency Management Committee.

The apology comes after The Sunday Times revealed last week the SEMC recorded the man died in hospital after falling from the roof of his Stoneville home during the blaze.

The report, released in June, reads: “12.59 (pm) Ambulance advise that a person at the Parkerville bushfire has fallen through roof in Stoneville and is later pronounced deceased at hospital”.

This week, the SEMC said the inaccuracy “only occurs in Appendix 6 of the review as part of a timeline of events”. In a statement, it said the error “has no bearing on any of the review’s recommendations or findings” because it was not in the main body of the report.

It also asked The Sunday Times for the family’s contact details so that an apology could be issued.

The man’s wife welcomed the apology but maintained the family should have been contacted.

“If there’s one error, there’s no reason there wouldn’t be another. Somewhere along the line someone has logged that incorrectly,” she said.

She said she remained surprised that no one had checked on the welfare of the family.

“When you think about it, there were a lot of things that were really poor, but it’s behind us now and we want to move on,” she said.

Opposition emergency services spokeswoman Margaret Quirk said the error continued to raise questions about the report’s overall accuracy.

“If they were so fundamentally wrong about one fact you’ve got to wonder about the credibility of the rest of the report,” Ms Quirk said.

Hovea man Ron Shaw, 62, died on the day of the fire while blowing leaves off his house, about 10km downhill from the blaze.
 


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