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Volunteer Firefighter Killed In NSW Bushfires Overnight Identified As Young Newlywed And Father-To-Be

His truck was hit by “cyclonic type winds”

This morning, we woke to the tragic news that another New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteer, identified as 28-year-old Samuel McPaul had passed away overnight while fighting a fire near Albury. Caught in a “fire tornado”, Mr McPaul’s truck flipped in the Green Valley blaze in Jingellic, 70 kilometres east of Albury near the NSW-Victoria border.

A statement released by the RFS revealed that Mr McPaul had died at the scene, while two others were airlifted to The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne to be treated for burn injuries.

“Tragically … one of our firefighters, a much-loved and respected local firefighter from down near the Holbrook area, tragically lost his life,” RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

According to NSW RFS district manager Superintendent Patrick Westwood, Mr McPaul was “doing everything right” when tragedy struck. He and two others were mustering cattle caught in a paddock on flat ground, and the driver of the truck was a veteran captain of 35 years-plus experience.


“The crew decided to move away from that area and, quite unexpectedly, very suddenly, they experienced extreme winds and what could only be described as a fire tornado that lifted the back of the truck, fully inverted it and landed it on its roof, trapping three people, three crew that is, and unfortunately, one of them fatally,” Superintendent Westwood said.

“He thought he was in the right spot — as he was, from what I can understand — and just this freakish weather event that would have to be seen to be believed. Even then, other veteran firefighters don’t believe what they saw, [it] engulfed that vehicle with flame, fire, and strong winds and literally picked up an 8-tonne truck and flipped it over.”

(Credit: Facebook)

Mr McPaul had been married to his wife Meghan for 18 months, and the couple were expecting their first child together in May.

“He leaves behind a beautiful wife, Megan, who is pregnant with their first child, that’s due on May 4,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.

“As you would expect, the family is grieving and it’s been a very difficult night.

“It would be fair to say I don’t even think the comprehension has set in of the enormity of their loss.”

Superintendent Westwood echoed this sentiment, sharing “As everyone would understand this is a very, very sad day for the NSW RFS family locally and across the state.”

There are currently eight bushfires burning at an emergency level across NSW, with Commissioner Fitzsimmons confirming that this is indeed the worst bushfire season on record for the state.

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