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Firefighter death

Firefighter death

A firefighter working in Gippsland has died

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp has confirmed that the Victorian firefighter who died near Omeo yesterday was Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighter and Parks Victoria employee Bill Slade.

Bill is survived by wife Carol, daughter Steph and son Ethan.

Bill has been a long serving team member of Parks Victoria, having recently being acknowledged for 40-years’ service.

Forest Fire Management Victoria Chief Fire Officer Chris Hardman said: “This is a significant loss for our firefighting family and the Victorian community.

“Bill was working as a member of a taskforce on the fireground in the vicinity of Anglers Rest near Omeo when he was struck by a tree.

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“Our forest firefighters have been working alongside the CFA and our other emergency partners throughout these unprecedented fires.

“While you often don’t see them, our Forest Fire Management Victoria firefighters - the men and women in green – are out in our forests year-round working in dynamic and challenging conditions.

“These men and women do extraordinary work to protect our communities and our environment going about their important work often as unsung heroes.

“We continue to have support in place for Bill’s family and our staff. This tragic event will be investigated by Victoria Police who will prepare a report for the Coroner.”

Parks Victoria Chief Executive Officer Matthew Jackson said: “A much loved colleague, friend and member of the Wonthaggi community, Bill will be sorely missed by Parks Victoria.

“Bill contributed over 40-years to firefighting and caring for national parks in South Gippsland. I pay tribute to his incredible service in land and fire management over many years.

“We acknowledge the profound loss that many in the community will be feeling today and over the coming days.”

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