AWU reports the death of two firefighters

Australian Workers Union reported the tragic death of two firefighters who were struggling to put off the bushfire near Harrietville. The AWU Victorian Secretary Cesar Melhem announced the death of two Department Sustainability and Environment firefighters.

State Control Centre spokesman Gerard Scholten said: “We have sent crews out there and an ambulance. I know there has been some wire copy about. But until we arrive at the scene we won’t know what has happened.”

Later the Department reportedly said: “(we) can confirm there has been a serious accident at the Harrietville – Alpine North fire. Police and ambulance are responding.”

According to Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen, a fallen tree hit the vehicle and paramedics were called to the scene on Pheasant Creek Track. Later, two ambulance helicopters and ground crews arrived.

Melhem said: “These DSE firefighters work in the most horrific conditions imaginable, away from the big centres, out in the bush, and with very little recognition for their heroic contribution to this state. They have died heroes, which will be small comfort to those that grieve them. We want answers, and we want those answers to make sure that this does not happen again.”

The AWU and DSE will conduct a thorough investigation. On the other hand, the Department

of Sustainability has only confirmed that a serious accident has happened.

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