24 January 2020

Body found near Bodalla, and a blunt warning for stickybeaks to stay away

| Genevieve Jacobs
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Bodalla and Moruya continue to be affected by fires from New Year’s Eve onwards. Photo: The Plot Bodalla Facebook.

Yesterday’s South Coast fire outbreak has had a tragic outcome as police confirm that a body, believed to be that of a 59-year-old man, was found this morning inside a burnt-out home near Bodalla.

The house on Bumbo Road at Bodalla was destroyed in yesterday’s blaze and neighbours raised concerns for the occupant. The deceased person was found by police but has not been formally identified.

A crime scene has been established and detectives, police rescue and specialist forensic officers are currently investigating with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS).

There is still no confirmation about how many houses were lost in yesterday’s blaze, which impacted the western edges of Moruya.

The Eurobodalla Emergency Operations Centre has issued a blunt warning for sightseers: “Please stop the stickybeaking. It’s disrespectful to residents and potentially dangerous to you.

“Do not cross roadblocks. Please show respect for residents in burnt areas and do not enter”.

Conditions remain dangerous in many parts of the Eurobodalla Shire. Trees are burning at their bases and powerlines are down.

While fire activity has eased in today’s more favourable conditions, both the Badja and Clyde Mountain fires are still at Watch and Act level and there is active fire in the landscape, particularly in the Dignams Creeks area. It is not safe to return there.

It is also not safe to return to Potato Point. Some fire activity remains in Tilba and Mystery Bay, and the Wagonga Scenic Drive area west of Narooma.

Evacuation centres in Moruya and Narooma are open and disaster welfare staff are on hand to assist. The Moruya evacuation centre is at the Moruya Basketball Stadium on Albert Street, and the Narooma evacuation centre is at the Leisure Centre on Bluewater Drive.

A number of local roads are closed and the Moruya waste transfer station is also closed until further notice following yesterday’s fire damage.

5,774 Essential Energy customers in the Eurobodalla Shire are still without power from Broulee to Surf Beach, including southern parts of Mogo. Potato Point remains inaccessible due to ongoing fire activity. Parts of the Tilba region also experienced an interruption this afternoon due to network damage and others remain without power.

Customers can call 13 20 80 for specific enquiries. Essential Energy teams are also assisting RFS to remove fallen powerlines so roads can be safely opened to the public.

The Eurobodalla water supply is safe to drink although the Shire says the taste and colour of the water may be affected by ash.

South East Local Lands Service has reminded residents they are on the ground ready to provide feed and other animal welfare support following yesterday’s fires. Call 1800 814 647.

Meanwhile, three American aerial specialists killed when their air tanker crashed at Peak View near Jerangle have been named. They were Captain Ian McBeth, first officer Paul Hudson and flight engineer Rick DeMorgan Jr.

All three were on a firebombing operation to protect the Two Thumbs Wildlife Sanctuary when their plane went down in what witnesses reported as a fireball. The crash is being investigated by the Australia Transport Safety Bureau.

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