• Info fail caused fire deaths: Vic coroner

    Date: 2019.05.19 | Category: 杭州夜生活 | Tags:

    No operations officer had enough information to know to pull two Victorian firefighters out of danger while they were battling a bushfire in a remote Alpine region, an inquest has found.


    Steven Kadar, 34, and Katie Peters, 19, were back burning part of the Harrietville bushfire on February 13, 2013, when a giant alpine ash tree fell on their truck and killed them.

    The inquest into their deaths was previously told they could have been pulled out of Pheasants Creek Track if the operations manager had known a storm cell was approaching.

    Coroner John Olle said on Thursday the purpose of his inquiry was to identify areas for improvement not attribute blame but he couldn’t reasonably criticise those who were in charge.

    He found there was sufficient information available for Incident Control Centre staff to act but “not one person was in possession of all the fragments”.

    “I find that each of these individuals expressed reasonable judgment with the information available to them,” Mr Olle said.

    Sector Commander Michael Ritchie, Deputy Operations Officer Brian Leith McKenzie, Divisional Commander Craig Hore and Incident Controller Anthony Long could not reasonably be criticised for not withdrawing Mr Kadar and Ms Peters that day, Mr Olle said.

    “In hindsight, I find the system failed to ensure all available information was collated and considered as a whole, by ground and operational managers,” he said.

    “However, I am unable to find that, if the information had been collated, the decision to withdraw fire crews would have been made clearer.”

    Mr Olle said it was not reasonable to expect even an experienced firefighter to have marked the tree in question as hazardous because of its position on the down slope about 25 metres from the track.

    Mr Olle made 10 recommendations, including designing fire trucks better able to withstand falling trees, and to avoid sending firefighters into alpine ash forests unless absolutely necessary.

    Australian Workers Union Secretary Ben Davies said workers should always leave when they feel in danger.

    “It’s not about weighing up risks: it’s about saying this is a place you shouldn’t be, you need to go right now and you don’t need managerial approval to do that,” he told reporters on Thursday.