Settlement reached over Blampied bushfire, Hazell Bros to pay compensation

A SETTLEMENT has been reached over the 2012 Blampied bushfire.

An agreement between plaintiff Dr David Campbell and defendant Hazell Bros was approved by the Supreme Court of Victoria on February 27.

The fire, on February 24, 2012, burnt through 37 hectares up to the Wombat State Forest fringe and threatened several houses over three hours.

In his statement of claim, Dr Campbell said Hazell Bros’ employees were using liquid-fuelled power equipment beside the Midland Highway to cut steel-reinforced pipe, causing sparks, embers and flames, which started the bushfire.

Dr Campbell said he lost $186,827 worth of equipment, including boundary fencing, garden fencing, garden areas and plant and machine, as well as $3513 in clean-up costs.

In its defence, Hazell Bros said the equipment was being used in a damp trench and was lubricated to prevent it overheating.

The statement of defence also said workers saw police discover a cigarette butt close to the ignition site.

Maddens Lawyers said anyone else now wishing to claim compensation needed to register as class action group members by April 28.

People who register will then have to prepare “particulars of loss” identifying damage received during the fire.

Once their claim has been assessed, Hazell Bros will pay compensation equal to 95 per cent of the assessed value plus 10 per cent interest from May 1 this year.

However, if the particulars of loss were received after February 1, the interest will be payable from a date subsequent to the information being provided.

fiona.henderson@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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