Australia — A hero firefighter has fallen after suffering a heart attack while battling a blaze in NSW, the third to die as bushfires cause devastation across Australia.
The 48-year-old was trying to contain a five-hectare fire at Stanford Merthyr, near Kurri Kurri yesterday.
Firefighters used a defibrillator until paramedics arrived at the scene.
He was then taken to John Hunter Hospital but police confirmed the man couldn’t be revived.
NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said it was a terrible tragedy.
“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the member’s family, fellow brigade members, and colleagues,” he said in a statement.
NSW firefighters are mourning the loss of their devoted colleague.
It’s the third bushfire death this week in Australia.
His death comes after two people were killed during a blaze in South Australia.
It’s feared the death toll could rise, with five others critical in hospital.
The fire has now been contained and emergency services are hoping to be in control later tonight.
One of those who died has been identified as 69-year-old local man, Allan Tiller.
The second victim, a woman from Hamley Bridge, has not yet been named.
So far, 30 people have been injured in the bushfire, including 16 hospitalised for burns or smoke inhalation.
At least 16 homes have been destroyed and 22 significant buildings, including a bowling club and a general store as well as farm buildings.
On other damage, 85,000 hectares of cropping land, grass and scrub has been burnt out.
A fire has reignited at Pinery in South Australia where yesterday’s disastrous blazes began.
Dozens of Country Fire Service firefighters and farm fire units are en route to the area.
The Country Fire Service has also been called to a building fire at Mallala.
A Hamley Bridge resident has spoken of the moment he saw his house engulfed by a fireball during South Australia’s devastating bushfires.
“It just came over and it just absolutely took everything out, just the whole lot,” resident, Paul Vogue told ABC News.
Mr Vogue said it happened within 20 seconds and he is thankful for being alive after losing some birds.
“It was just a horrendous fireball.”
He told ABC that he managed to save his house, all of his horses, his dog and his partner with the help from a neighbour.
“A gentleman came past and helped me fix where it had burnt the water meter, “Mr Vogue told ABC.
“We got that fixed and ended up getting some water to the back of my house.
“Some firies helped me with getting it so it doesn’t get to the house.”
-A 56-year-old woman was killed in a car in Hamley Bridge and the body of 69-year-old man was found in a paddock in Pinery. -Three people are missing. -Thirteen people are in hospital, five in a serious condition. -At least 19 people have been injured. -One victim has burns to around 80 percent of their body. -Three injured victims are firefighters, one reportedly fighting for life. -At least 16 properties have been destroyed. -The cause of the fire remains unknown, a joint investigation has been established.
Huge winds have fanned the fire front that’s burning north of Adelaide which has destroyed 16 homes, ruined 400 structures and left 6000 homes without power.
‘We’re thinking of you’: Aussies message to SA bushfire victims
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed the two deaths in a press conference this morning, saying he has “grave fears for many more”.
“My deepest sympathies go to those families,” Mr Weatherill said.
We cant be sure we have identified every single person in the fireground.”
The bushfire has a perimeter of more than 210 kilometres and emergency services are hoping to have the fire declared detained in two to three days.
Hospitals in the area have remained open and relief centres are available.
Emergency services were not able to access some parts so police and SES will be covering every area of the ground for a full assessment.
Four schools will be closed today, more information on other schools closing later today and railway lines are no longer in use.
Emergency services are expecting cooler temperatures today but an increase in humidity and winds.
“This has been a devastating few hours for large parts of the state and unfortunately there is some time to go until we have fire fronts under control,” Mr Weatherill said.
More than 400 firefighters are battling the flames with 200 more personnel to arrive from Victoria bringing an additional 50 firefighting appliances.
Fire activity remains around many townships including Owen, Hamley Bridge, Tarlee, Freeling, Wasleys, Kapunda, Greenock and surrounding areas.
MESSAGE FROM THE CFS
-Act immediately. Follow your Bushfire Survival Plan. -Do not leave or enter [the Pinery] area in a vehicle or on foot, it is too late and the roads will not be safe. -Take shelter in a building and actively defend it. Shelter before the fire arrives as radiant heat can kill you well before the flames reach you. -If the building catches on fire and the conditions inside become unbearable, you need to get out and go to an area that has already been burnt.
As fire fighters battled the wild blazes in the north, another out of control fire sprang up at Lameroo, to the south of Adelaide, in the state’s Mallee region.