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Parkerville fire victims hear legal options at community session

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Media Release

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Residents and property owners affected by the destructive bushfires in Parkerville in January 2014 attended an information session last night to hear about their rights to pursue compensation for their losses.

Slater and Gordon along with bushfire litigation lawyer Kevin Banks-Smith are investigating a potential class action after fire destroyed 57 homes and caused substantial property damage to many others in the area.

A recent Energy Safety report confirmed that the fire arose after a jarrah pole fell at a Parkerville resident’s property as a consequence of extensive damage to the base caused by termites and rot.

Bushfire litigation lawyer Kevin Banks-Smith said if Western Power had used appropriate testing during maintenance just months before the fire, the extensive damage could have been prevented.

“The fact that the fallen pole was the point of supply to the property increases the likelihood that Western Power had a responsibility to adequately check and maintain the pole,” Mr Banks-Smith said.

Commercial and project litigation lawyer with Slater and Gordon, Ben Hardwick said the firm was preparing a proposed class action on instruction from a number of local residents who lost their homes or suffered property damage as a consequence of the fire.

“Most people who have contacted us have found that their insurance didn’t provide adequate coverage for the real cost of restoring their home and gardens,” he said.

“We’re increasingly confident Western Power can be held legally responsible for the losses sustained by our current clients and we look forward to speaking with other affected residents about their rights too.

“We presented an information session last night for those who wanted more information about their legal rights and how litigation can proceed.”

Mr Banks-Smith had been appointed to act as a consultant to Slater and Gordon. He has represented groups impacted by the Tenterden Fire of 2003, the Toodyay Fires of 2007 and 2009 and the 2011 Roleystone/Kelmscott fire. He and Slater and Gordon are currently working together on claims arising from the November 2011 Margaret River fires.

Anyone who wishes to receive further information about the legal implications and their rights in regard to the Parkerville fire can phone Slater and Gordon on 1800 555 777.