Flood of tears for State Emergency Service hero killed in freak accident in …

Matt Stevens

POPULAR VOLUNTEER: Matt Stevens was killed in Theodore on Friday night when he was reversed over by a fire truck as he helped get the vehicle going. Picture: Murray Ware
Source: The Courier-Mail

THIS time last year Theodore was a ghost town, its residents scattered by the worst natural disaster in Queensland history.

Now, one year on, they are united in grief at the loss of a flood hero who helped them through their darkest hour.

The tiny central Queensland town has rallied to support the family of Matt Stevens, the 28-year-old SES volunteer who was killed in a freak accident on Friday night.

“The whole town is looking after us. People have been coming and going all day,” his father Bill Stevens said.

Matt Stevens was killed at the Theodore Fire Station, where he volunteered regularly, after a fire truck accidentally reversed over him as he untied a rope.

Yesterday his wife Jessica, also an SES volunteer, was in severe shock at the loss of her husband.

His brother Tim, also a member of the fire brigade and reportedly in the truck at the time of the accident, was left devastated.

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Matt Stevens

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Mr Stevens said his son, who grew up in Theodore, was a “bush mechanic” who loved helping out around the station.

The close-knit town has been left reeling, mourning the death of the flood hero who last year stayed behind to help evacuate Theodore as the Dawson River rose.

“He would have been one of the last to leave,” said former councillor Ron Bock, who helped lead the Theodore community through the crisis.

“He put in a terrific effort.”

Theodore SES Group Leader Barry Denning said the family were “very helpful people” and Matt Stevens and his wife did a lot of the organising work at the station.

Yesterday morning, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Acting Commissioner Iain MacKenzie travelled to Theodore to offer condolences and visit staff and family.

Mr MacKenzie said the incident was a tragedy for Theodore and officers involved in the incident had been offered counselling.

Matt Stevens was the second flood hero to die in December. Peter Fenton, 67, the “reluctant hero” who helped steer a drifting piece of Riverwalk to safety, died in an accident earlier in the month.


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