Class action over the Jack River fire

MADDENS Lawyers has issued a class action on behalf of victims of the Jack River bushfire, which burnt farmland in the Jack River area on February 9.

The firm issued proceedings on September 25 against energy provider AusNet Electricity Services, on behalf of residents and business owners burnt out by the a fire that burned 5000 hectares between Jack River and Madalya, west of Yarram, on February 9.

According to the Statement of Claim issued in the Victorian Supreme Court, the Jack River fire started when poorly-maintained trees came into contact with a power line north-west of the Egans Rd and Yarram-Morwell Road intersection, around 10.20am on Sunday, February 9.

The ensuing blaze destroyed at least one home, fencing, pastures, outbuildings, native trees and a large proportion of a local timber plantation.

It is estimated the claim will exceed $2.5 million in property loss and damage, with 25 local residents already registered as part of the class.

Maddens' Senior Partner Brendan Pendergast said the class action was a secure and low-risk means for the residents and businesses marred by the fire to claim losses, including losses not covered by insurance.

"In this instance, the failure to properly clear trees from beneath a power line has led to devastating consequences," he said.

"Quite simply, the residents of this area have suffered losses that are not their fault.

"They are losses that would not have occurred had the right procedures been followed.

"There is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred, and accept the damage that it did whilst incurring the substantial expense associated with re-establishing their properties."

AusNet Electricity Services has until tomorrow to indicate whether it intends to defend the action, but it is believed it will do so.

Mr Pendergast urged any residents or business owners who may have not already registered to be part of the class action to phone Maddens Lawyers tollfree on 1800 139 290, or by registering online at maddenslawyers.com.au

Gippsland Senior
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