A brave volunteer firefighter has died while battling the terrifying bushfires while two more suffered injuries, after their truck crashed on the New South Wales – Victoria border.
The NSW RFS confirmed on Monday evening that one of its dedicated volunteers, named as 28-year-old Samuel McPaul, had passed away that night near the small town of Jingellic as a further two are treated for burns injuries.
“The firefighters were working on the Green Valley Fire, about 70km east of Albury,” the NSW RFS post on Twitter read.
“It’s believed that the truck rolled when hit by extreme winds.”
#NSWRFS confirms that a volunteer firefighter has died this evening near Jingellic. A further 2 firefighters have suffered burns.
The firefighters were working on the Green Valley Fire, about 70km east of #Albury. It’s believed that the truck rolled when hit by extreme winds.
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) December 30, 2019
Tributes have already begun to roll in for the brave firefighter who put their life on the line to save others with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian leading the way. The politician took to social media on Monday night to share a heartfelt message with her fellow Aussies.
“Just heartbreaking,” she wrote. “A brave firefighter has lost their life protecting the community east of Albury. Words fail at times like this.”
Just heartbreaking. A brave firefighter has lost their life protecting the community east of Albury. Words fail at times like this.
— Gladys Berejiklian (@GladysB) December 30, 2019
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also shared a few words with the country’s people as the shocking news spread throughout Australia.
“Devastated at the terrible news of the loss of another volunteer firefighter and two others injured near Jingellic in southern NSW where a truck has rolled over,” he wrote on Twitter.
Devastated at the terrible news of the loss of another volunteer firefighter and two others injured near Jingellic in southern NSW where a truck has rolled over. In a separate vehicle another firefighter has been injured.
— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) December 30, 2019
Meanwhile, fellow Aussies have also expressed their sadness at the loss of the third firefighter in a matter of weeks.
“My condolences to the family, loved ones and crew of the firefighter who has lost his/her life and I hope the two injured firefighters are on the mend soon,” @BelindaJones68 commented on Twitter.
“Such a heartbreaking tragedy for the RFS who are working so hard in such shocking conditions.”
“The saddest outcome for the family,” @Katydiamond11 added. “No one should die whilst volunteering. Not one person. This is absolutely heartbreaking.”
“Rest easy hero,” @getrealtunes said.
The death of the firefighter comes weeks after two other volunteer firefighters, identified as Geoffrey Keaton, 32, and Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, from the NSW RFS, were confirmed dead after their truck also rolled as they were making their way to tackle blazes in Sydney’s south west.
A tree came down on the truck which was travelling as part of a convoy on Wilson Drive, near Buxton. The two men, both young fathers from Sydney, died in the tragic incident, while three others suffered injuries.
The RFS released a statement at the time, confirming the sad news and extending their sympathies to the families of the deceased who belonged to the Horsley Park Brigade. A spokesperson said: “The deaths occurred following a vehicle rollover earlier this evening during firefighting operations. It is believed the vehicle, while travelling in convey, hit a tree before rolling off the road.
“The Service’s thoughts are with all the firefighter’s family, friends and fellow brigade members. This is an absolutely devastating event in what has already been an incredibly difficult day and fire season.”