Qld flood hero crushed in freak accident

A man who was killed in a freak accident in central Queensland was a State Emergency Service volunteer who worked tirelessly during the 2010-2011 floods.

Twenty-eight-year-old Matthew Stevens was killed when a fire truck that he was underneath ran over him, the ABC reported.

The tragedy happened on Friday night about 6.30pm (AEST) at the fire station at Theodore, 170km west of Bundaberg, when the station’s crew are understood to have responded to a call-out while Mr Stevens was working on the truck’s chassis.

Local residents said that as an SES volunteer, Mr Stevens had worked around the clock when Theodore was flooded in December 2010.

He helped others evacuate their homes, even as his own home was going under water.

Two-thirds of Theodore had water above their floorboards for more than 20 days, and hundreds of residents were evacuated by helicopter.

Acting Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Commissioner Iain MacKenzie visited firefighters in Theodore on Saturday after the tragic accident.

He said the incident was another blow for the town.

“The firefighters and the local community are again having to deal with tragic circumstances with the death of a local SES volunteer who supported the community during their time of need in the floods,” Mr MacKenzie said in a statement.

“The man was the brother of one of our auxiliary firefighters and I know the entire emergency services community expresses their condolences to the man’s family.”

All officers involved in the incident had been offered counselling and support.

“Theodore is a close-knit community and this incident will be deeply felt for some time,” he said.

The matter is under investigation by the Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, the Queensland Police Service and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland.

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