Communication breakdown

A BREAKDOWN in communication was one of the key findings into the deaths of two firefighters near Harrietville two years ago.

A BREAKDOWN in communication was one of the key findings into the deaths of two firefighters near Harrietville two years ago.

Coroner David Olle has also highlighted the danger of fire-affected trees, recommending in his findings that the department, now known as Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, ensure firefighters are “not exposed to the danger of fire-affected Alpine Ash forests unless absolutely necessary”.

Steven Kadar, 34, and Katie Peters, 19, were back burning part of the Harrietville bushfire on February 13, 2013, when a giant Alpine Ash tree fell on their truck and killed them.

The inquest into their deaths was previously told they could have been pulled out of Pheasants Creek Track if the operations manager had known a storm cell was approaching.

The coroner found there was sufficient information available for Incident Control Centre staff to act but “not one person was in possession of all the fragments”.

The pair at the time had been fighting the Harrietville Alpine North fire that had started through a lightning strike more than three weeks earlier.

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