Firefighters killed in New South Wales identified

They were members of the Horsley Park Brigade

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) has identified the two volunteer firefighters that were killed December 19 while working on the Green Wattle Creek Bushfire near Buxton in southwestern Sydney.

Firefighter Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, joined the Service in 2003, and is a member of the Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade.

Andrew O'Dwyer firefighter killed
Andrew O’Dwyer with his daughter Charlotte.

Firefighter Geoffrey Keaton, 32, joined the Service in 2006 and is a Deputy Captain of Horsley Park Rural Fire Brigade, and a former member of Plumpton Brigade.

Geoffrey Keaton firefighter killed
Geoffrey Keaton and his son Harvey.

A spokesperson for the the NSW RFS said, “That tree came down in front of that truck, the truck impacted that tree and then rolled resulting in fatalities to two of our firefighters.”

The incident occurred just before midnight at the end of a long shift. Both of them, members of the Horsley Park Brigade, were in the front seat of the truck and died at the scene. Three other passengers were injured and treated at the scene by paramedics.

RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said, “They work together, socialize together, they’re very interactive together. Their respective partners and wives shared a lot in common with their camaraderie and connection with the brigade,” he said.

“Geoff has a young son Harvey, and Andrew has a young daughter Charlotte, and both of those children were born two days apart back in May so they’re 19 months of age, which is just terrible.”

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “I don’t think you can think of a worse set of circumstances to see two young fathers lose their lives in this way.”

On the night of Mr. Keaton’s death, his father John was fighting a a very large fire in Gospers Mountain northwest of Sydney, while his son was at the Green Wattle Creek Fire.

Andrew O'Dwyer fire truck
Andrew O’Dwyer (far left) is seen with colleagues in front of the truck he was riding in at the time of the accident.

The NSW RFS has created a dedicated bank account to collect donations for the families.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

5 thoughts on “Firefighters killed in New South Wales identified”

  1. Am writing from the United States. I am very humbled by the perseverance, bravery,
    and tenacity of the Australian firefighters. Wish I was not an older man, and could head to “down under” to help the mates. It is difficult to fathom how leaders of countries like the U.S. and Australia can be in such denial of the
    impact of global climate change.

    The pictures of the men with their daughter was very emotional and touching on two counts. The little one will miss the touching hands of their fathers, and at the same time grow to learn of the bravery displayed by these same men. How proud they will be.

  2. RIP
    We all remember you here in Colorado for the bravery and service you gave us. Our hearts
    will be with you forever and always
    USFS Hotshot Firefighter

  3. RIP Brothers
    You’ll be remembered long after any fat cat politician,you gave your lives trying to protect our environment our animals and our communities.
    You will not be forgotten,nor your loved ones.
    Heart wrenching

  4. Time to remember their sacrifice, and those who have lost their loved-ones. Rest in peace, brothers.

  5. Those photos are…beyond heartbreaking. If Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Energy Minister Angus Taylor are so convinced that it’s no big deal, that it’s all just seasonal variation in the country that had to add a colour to its temperature chart to capture the upper range, maybe they should get out there and try their hand at fighting some fires.
    It would be more useful than anything they’re doing about it in Parliament. Which makes them directly accountable to those dads, and those babies.


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