UPDATED at 6:43 p.m. PST January 11, 2020.
The bushfires in Australia have claimed the life of a fifth firefighter. It occurred Saturday January 11 while a firefighter was working on a fire in the Omeo area of Victoria, Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp has confirmed.
Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said, “Bill Slade was working as a member of a task force at the Anglers Rest area and he was struck by a tree.”
“Family and fellow emergency personnel are being informed and will be supported,” he said. “The safety and wellbeing of our people is our highest priority. The matter will be investigated by Victoria Police who will prepare a report for the Coroner.”
Mr. Slade, 60, had worked for 40 years as a firefighter with Parks Victoria. He is survived by his wife Carol, daughter Steph and son Ethan.
Our sincere condolences go out to the family, friends, and co-workers.
Other recent firefighter fatalities in Australia:
January 3, 2020: Victoria Forest Fires Management worker Mat Kavanagh, 43, died on duty in a two vehicle crash on the Goulburn Valley Highway, in Victoria. His colleague was injured.
December 30, 2019: New South Wales Rural Fire Service volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul died when a fire tornado or column collapse flipped his fire engine in New South Wales. Two other firefighters were also injured.
December 19, 2019: Andrew O’Dwyer and Geoffrey Keaton were killed while working on the Green Wattle Creek Bushfire when their truck hit a tree near Buxton in southwestern Sydney, New South Wales. They were both volunteer firefighters for the NSW Rural Fire Service.
At least 27 people have died in the Australia bushfires during the 2019/2020 bushfire season.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Tom. Typos or errors, report them HERE.