Australia Bushfire victims take on Western Power over fallen power pole

23:51  12 july  2018
23:51  12 july  2018 Source:   9news.com.au

Perth Hills bushfire class action claims power pole that started blaze was in a 'deplorable' state

  Perth Hills bushfire class action claims power pole that started blaze was in a 'deplorable' state A Perth court is told a power pole that sparked a bushfire in the Hills district was in such a bad state of rot and termite damage before it collapsed that a modest gust of wind was enough to cause it to fall. Mr Armstrong argued even though the pole was on private property, it was Western Power's responsibility.The court heard that the pole had been inspected in January 2014, only two days before the fire that destroyed 57 homes.Mr Armstrong said while there were no fatalities from the blaze, the "impact was terrible" with the loss of homes, outbuildings and vehicles. require(["inlineoutstreamAd", "c.

Bushfire victims take on Western Power over fallen power pole . Victims of a ferocious bushfire that razed nearly 60 homes in the Perth hills will face off against Western Power in the Supreme Court next week.

A WAR of words over the cause of the devastating Toodyay bushfire has intensified today with Western Power rejecting claims its pole inspection methods are

Victims of a ferocious bushfire that destroyed nearly 60 homes in the Perth hills will face off against Western Power in the Supreme Court next week.

Nearly 200 plaintiffs have joined the class action saying they want to make sure it never happens again.

Gary and Sandra Elwood lost everything when in 2014 a bushfire tore through Parkerville and destroyed their family home.

a young boy standing next to a tree: The fire in the Perth Hills destroyed nearly 60 homes. Picture: 9NEWS © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The fire in the Perth Hills destroyed nearly 60 homes. Picture: 9NEWS

Their home was one of 57 houses burnt down in the blaze, sparked by a fallen power pole.

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This article is over 4 years old. An investigation has found that a bushfire in the Perth hills that destroyed 52 homes started from a fault in a power pole on an 82-year-old’s property. Western Power said it had begun rebuilding the network damaged by the Parkerville fire , with 192 staff

Investigators have confirmed the Parkerville bushfire that destroyed more than 50 homes was started by a fallen power pole on private property. EnergySafety has taken possession of the consumer's main switchboard, relevant sections of wiring and the pole .

“We've rebuilt, it's still not home it's a house,” Ms Elwood said.

“We're just fighting, we just want compensation we will go to the end, I don't care how long it takes.”

The Elwoods are the lead plaintiffs in a class action against Western Power and contractor Theiss (TEESS) which represents almost 200 residents.

a sunset over a city street: The fire was sparked by a fallen power pole. Picture: 9NEWS © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The fire was sparked by a fallen power pole. Picture: 9NEWS

They're seeking compensation which could run into the tens of millions of dollars but that's only part of it.

“We've had marriage breakdowns, business failures, bankruptcies, it's not just about bricks and mortar, it's about real people and they've suffered, real injustices and that's why we need to get this resolved,” Greg Jones from the Bushfire Claimants Consultants Committee said.

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The Western Power power outages map shows current reported outages that affect more than one customer in our network area. Putting safety first in bushfire season. Technical information. Manuals, guides & standards.

They claim Western Power was responsible for the blaze because it failed to remove the power pole despite it being dangerously rotten.

However, the utility argues it wasn't its responsibility because the pole was on private land.

a person standing next to a fence: Almost 200 residents are being represented in the class action. Picture: 9NEWS © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Almost 200 residents are being represented in the class action. Picture: 9NEWS

“There could be huge implications for Western Power here. We say that Western Power has an appalling attitude to the safety network. It's alone in the bushfire states of not inspecting private poles,” Slater and Gordon's lawyer Rory Walsh said.

The case is being spearheaded by lawyer Rory Walsh, who also represented plaintiffs in a class action over the Black Saturday bushfires.

He said there are at least 130,000 power poles on private properties in WA but the real number is unknown.

“West Australians should not accept second-class treatment by their utilities, this would not be accepted by other states in Australia,” he said.

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Western Power . Search Open Navigation. Putting safety first in bushfire season. Technical information. Manuals, guides & standards. If there is a pole down, damaged or leaning, or if there is any other hazardous situation please call 13 13 51.

Why does Western Power only provide an estimated restoration time? Major storms or lightning strikes often damage several sets of powerlines over a widespread area. If you live in a bushfire risk area and experience a power outage, particularly during summer, we ask for your patience.

a city with smoke coming out of it: They claim Western Power was responsible for the blaze because it failed to remove the power pole. Picture: 9NEWS © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd They claim Western Power was responsible for the blaze because it failed to remove the power pole. Picture: 9NEWS

The trial could take up to eight weeks, and in a WA first, it will also be live-streamed to the public.

The Elwoods and the other residents are just relieved to finally have their day in court and they hope it makes a change.

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