Recovery battle: Injured Geraldton firefighter ‘in for a long haul’

Adam Poulsen and Gavin BoxGeraldton Guardian
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Camera IconFile picture Credit: The West Australian

Moonyoonooka Volunteer Bushfire Brigade president Jerry Clune says his brother Frank is in for “a long haul” as he fights to recover from serious burns.

Frank, aged in his 50s and also a Moonyoonooka volunteer, was injured fighting a fire at Bringo, near Geraldton, on Saturday.

“He is in the burns unit (at Fiona Stanley Hospital) and will undergo surgeries this week,” Jerry said.

“He is in for a long haul. He has suffered about 38 per cent burns to his arms and legs.”

According to a City of Greater Geraldton statement, Mr Clune was injured about 11am fighting the fire – about 24 kilometres east of Geraldton - and was flown to Perth by Royal Flying Doctor Service the same day.

Jerry said Frank among about 30 people - volunteer firefighters and farmers - who turned out to fight the grass fire, which burnt out about 15 hectares of private land.

“It’s very difficult terrain and there’s a high fuel load, in a valley with power poles,” Jerry said.

Jerry said while the cause of the blaze had not been established, he suspected it was due to powerlines in the area.

“It’s near a power pole, put it that way,” he said.

“They (Western Power) need to man up and take ownership. It’s not the first time there’s been a fire in that area.”

Mayor Shane Van Styn said an investigation into the incident was now under way.

“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the volunteer and his family,” he said.

“Our heart goes out to the firefighter and we are wishing him a fast recovery.”

The city did not reveal the cause of the fire or further details regarding the extent of the man’s injuries.

A Western Power spokesman said he would not speculate on the cause of any fire.

“As is standard practice the cause of the fire will be investigated by the appropriate authority which, in this circumstance, will be the City of Greater Geraldton,” he said.

“We will assist in the investigation if requested and would encourage anyone with information that can assist the City of Geraldton's investigation to contact them.

“Our thoughts are with any individual who has suffered loss or injury from fires both here in WA and interstate over the weekend.”

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