Australia: wildfires claim lives of 2 firefighters, 3 injured

Australia: wildfires claim lives of 2 firefighters, 3 injured
Photo: YouTube | NBC News

Australia continues to be ravaged by devastating wildfires leaving two volunteer firefighters dead and three others injured.

Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister, abruptly had to end his family holiday in Hawaii as authorities prepare for soaring temperatures in New South Wales over the weekend.

31-year-old Geoffrey Keaton and 36-year-old Andrew O’Dwyer joined a truck convoy to fight off dangerous flames in the southwest of Sydney. During the drive, a tree fell and the pair’s vehicle was forced off the road resulting in a deadly crash. Keaton and O’Dwyer died at the scene while the accident left three other firefighters hurt and transferred to a medical facility. Both Keaton and O’Dwyer are fathers to 19-month-old children.

“To not be coming home after their shift is a tremendous grief and I applaud the families and the loved ones for their remarkable comprehension of what’s been unfolding,” Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons of the Rural Fire Service said in a statement.

He continued, “Both of these men were very well respected, they were very close, they’re a close-knit brigade, they’re a very community-focused brigade, work together, socialize together, they’re very interactive together.”

Morrison also acknowledges the heroic efforts of the two deceased firefighters saying they were “bravely defending their communities with an unmatched spirit and a dedication that will forever set them apart amongst our most courageous Australians”.

“Their sacrifice and service saving lives and saving properties will be forever remembered. I wish those injured all the best in their recovery,” he continued.

Morrison also apologized to the Australian people after leaving the country for a holiday during this time of crisis.