City receives Coroner's report into fire fighter's death image

22 June 2017

The City of Albany has received the Coroner’s report into the death of fire fighter Wendy Bearfoot at Black Cat Creek in 2012.

A Coronial Inquest was held late last year to investigate the circumstances of Mrs Bearfoot’s death and how she and other fire fighters responding to a wild fire had become caught by a burnover when a wind change caught them unawares.

Chief Executive Officer of the City of Albany Andrew Sharpe said the City’s thoughts had been with Mrs Bearfoot’s family and colleagues throughout this difficult time.

“Wendy’s death was an absolute tragedy and our thoughts and condolences go out to her family who lost a wonderful wife and mother,” he said. “This inquest was an incredibly difficult time for Wendy’s family, her fellow fire fighters and everyone involved at Black Cat Creek, it affected a lot of people in our community.”

Mr Sharpe said there were many former and current staff and volunteers at the City who were deeply impacted by the events at Black Cat Creek and the City had given them, and will continue to provide, its fullest support.

“The actions of those at Black Cat Creek that day to rescue and help their injured colleagues was incredibly heroic,” he said. “The bravery of all volunteer fire fighters deserves to be commended. They selflessly place themselves in harm’s way in every fire emergency to protect the community and are real heroes.”

Mr Sharpe said a lot of lessons had been learned from the tragedy.

“The City has worked tirelessly to improve safety for its volunteer fire fighters and we will continue to work closely with other agencies to implement best practice procedures and provide state of the art appliances,” he said.

“For what they sacrifice for our community they deserve to have the best protection and safety we can possibly provide.”