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Assault alleged over fire
CHRISTINE TOOKE Assault alleged over fire

The Fire and Emergency Services Authority is investigating a claim one of its volunteer fire fighters punched a 68-year-old man near his property outside Kununurra on Saturday.

Sherie Lethbridge claims her father Richard was “king-hit” by a volunteer firefighter because he thought Mr Lethbridge had deliberately lit a scrub fire burning on Old Darwin Road.

The volunteer had arrived at the family property in response to a 000 call Ms Lethbridge made about the fire at 2.37pm.

She claims the volunteer yelled that her father had nearly killed him before punching him on the road adjacent to their land.

“We’re not impressed by some young fella coming out and punching my dad in the head,” she said.

Ms Lethbridge said her family did not light the fire.

“We’re not criticising the FESA department at all but we’re not pleased that we have been implicated and obviously with the incident on the day,” she said.

“We just want people to know that we didn’t start any fires. My little old dad who is 68 does not go around lighting bushfires.”

She said the family did not want to prosecute over the alleged incident.

FESA said it would not comment until its investigation was complete.

“FESA is investigating an incident that allegedly occurred while volunteer firefighters were in attendance at the fire,” a spokesman said.

Fire also damaged council infrastructure at the rubbish tip in the same area.

Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley chief executive Gary Gaffney said the source of the fire was being investigated.

“Both Shire resources, FESA, DEC and private resources were used to contain the fire and bring it under control,” Mr Gaffney said. “(The) council plant was damaged during the containment of the fire. At present the cost is still to be calculated.”

The fire was extinguished on Sunday.