Burn off gone wrong

Burn off gone wrong

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Almost two years later the remains of Crystal Greenwood’s shed is a constant reminder of the $80,000 worth of property she lost during a burn off. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

A Hopeland resident took to the stand at a recent Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale elector’s meeting asking if they were still looking into a burn-off incident that occurred on her property in June, 2015.

Crystal Greenwood, 26, stood in council chambers on January 23 and brought up the issue of a fire on her property, which resulted in her shed being burnt down.

Ms Greenwood told The Examiner her insurance company would not pay her out.

“Some time later they (the insurance company) got in touch and then six months after that I was told they would not pay me out because the shire had not completed the correct paperwork,” she said.

“I suffered a nervous breakdown, anxiety and depression and I really hope this gets sorted.”

She said the Oakford Volunteer Fire Brigade who allegedly conducted the burn off did not give her the bank details to transfer funds for the burn off and allegedly asked for a donation and a carton for the boys.

“They told me the chief wasn’t in but they’d give me the details later,” she said.

“They started doing the burn off and suddenly I found them behind the shed.

“They told me it wasn’t going to catch and they knew what they were doing.”

Ms Greenwood said she was woken up at five o’clock in the morning the next day because her dogs were barking.

“I could hear this popping noise,” she said.

“It was the gas canisters from the shed, when I ran out it was on fire and everything was almost completely demolished.”

Ms Hopeland said she had lost about $80,000 worth of equipment she kept in the shed.

“When I contacted the fire brigade they told me the boys were doing me a favour and that it wasn’t an official job,” she said.

“I’m trying to stay strong and remain positive.

“Peter Kocian from the shire has been really great and he is reviewing my file.”

The Oakford Volunteer Fire Brigade were contacted by The Examiner but could not reach a spokesperson for comment.

Shire president John Erren said while the shire was sympathetic to Ms Greenwood’s situation it had been determined the persons conducting the burn off were not acting in the capacity as a member of a volunteer bush fire brigade as the burn off was not conducted with shire approval.

“The correct procedure to request for a prescribed burn off requires the landowner to make contact with the relevant fire brigade,” he said.

“The captain of the brigade attends the site to inspect and asses the area, a burn prescription notice is to be lodged with the shire for burns over one acre, an entry to property document is to be signed by the property owner and submitted to the shire to approve access to property and a permit to burn document is to be signed and submitted by the property owner to the shire formally requesting the burn off.”

Mr Erren said officers were currently reviewing the case file and internal discussions would occur to determine whether any assistance could be provided to Ms Greenwood.

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