Blampied bushfire: class action launched

A CLASS action has been launched over last year’s Blampied bushfire.

A statement of claim on Maddens Lawyers’ website states seven or more people, including lead plaintiff David Campbell, are taking action against defendants Hazell Bros.

The document claims Hazell Bros’ employees were using liquid-fuelled power equipment, including a demolition saw and/or angle grinder, to cut steel-reinforced concrete pipe on the Midland Highway between Blampied and Daylesford about 1.30pm on February 24 last year.

It claims the equipment caused sparks, embers and flames to discharge, which landed in dry grass nearby and started the bushfire.

In the statement of claim, Mr Campbell, who lives in Treweeks Road, said he lost $186,827 worth of equipment, including boundary fencing, garden fencing, garden areas and plant and machinery in the fire, as well as incurring $3515 in clean-up costs.

Mr Campbell and the other residents involved in the class action are not allowed to speak publicly until the matter is resolved for legal reasons.

In its statement of defence, also on the Maddens Lawyers website, Hazell Bros claim its workers were using a liquid-fuelled demolition saw to cut the pipe, but it was being used in a damp trench on the roadside, about 600 millimetres deep.

It also says the trench was covered with gravel and there was nothing flammable in it, the demolition saw blade was lubricated to prevent it overheating, and the defendant’s workers observed police discover a cigarette butt close to the bushfire’s point of ignition.

The fire burnt through 37 hectares up to the Wombat State Forest fringe, and threatened several houses in a three-hour period.

Fifty CFA crews, including 40 tankers, a bulldozer and five air cranes battled the blaze.

Fire damage: Legal action has been launched over the Blampied fire in February last year. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

Fire damage: Legal action has been launched over the Blampied fire in February last year. PICTURE: ADAM TRAFFORD

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