The West Australian
ALBANY, Australia — A 45-year-old firefighter who died yesterday, three weeks after she was engulfed in flames near Albany, has been remembered as a much-loved, courageous and experienced firefighter.
Department of Environment and Conservation worker and mother-of-three Wendy Bearfoot was trapped in the fire's path after strong winds changed direction as she, a 24-year-old colleague and several other firefighters fought a blaze on a private property on October 12.
Mrs Bearfoot had burns to more than 75 per cent of her body and died from her injuries in Royal Perth Hospital.
Her son Joshua, who had been at her bedside with his father Garry, said she had passed away after a ridiculously strong fight.
In a Facebook message thanking those who had supported them in recent weeks, he said his mother was now in a better place.
Her colleague and close friend remains in a stable condition, being treated for burns to 17 per cent of her body.
The women were badly burnt after the truck they were in stopped as they tried to escape the raging flames, forcing them to run to a colleagues' vehicle for shelter.
It is believed the windscreen of that truck shattered, forcing all four firefighters inside to leave the searing hot vehicle.
Witnesses have told investigators that three of the firefighters sheltered together under a blanket beside the truck but it is believed Mrs Bearfoot was more seriously burnt when she became separated from the others.
DEC deputy director-general Jim Sharp paid tribute to Mrs Bearfoot, who had been with the organisation almost 10 years.
Wendy was a much-loved, respected and highly valued colleague, Mr Sharp said.
Dozens of Albany residents paid tribute to Mrs Bearfoot's courage yesterday.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services, police, DEC, WorkSafe and the City of Albany are investigating the incident.
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