Criminal charges and a class action suit have ensued from the February 17 Carwoola fire that raged through 3500 hectares of rural residential and rural land around Widgiewa Road. It destroyed eight homes and many animals in hot, dry and windy conditions.
Two tradesmen working for a plumbing contractor have been charged with allegedly using a power tool unlawfully on a total fire ban day. The charges relate to causing or setting fire to another person’s property and failing to comply with a total fire ban. The men have pleaded not guilty and the case returns to Queanbeyan Local Court in October.
Additionally a Victorian law firm has launched a class action suit on behalf of those affected, which is now in NSW Supreme Court. Maddens Lawyers had previously successfully prosecuted on behalf of victims of several major Victorian bushfires.
The firm has also filed suit on behalf of property owners affected by the 3384 hectare Currandooly fire north of Lake George in January. The lead plaintiffs are two Mt Fairy residents.
The class action in that case was filed against Infigen Energy, claiming that the company was liable after a bird hit high voltage wires that transferred electricity from Woodlawn Windfarm to a substation at the Capital Wind Farm, starting the fire. Infigen has denied liability. The poles and wires that transmit between the windfarms are built to standard specifications for the electricity industry. The case has not gone to court yet.