An inquiry by the Victorian Government has found that the Hazelwood mine fire, which burned for 45 days beginning in February 2014, most likely contributed to an increase in the number of deaths in the La Trobe Valley region.
Local residents say that the average death rate in the region increased by at least 11 in the last twelve months and attribute their exposure to the smoke from the fire as the likely explanation. While the government inquiry did not specify how many or which deaths were caused by exposure to the fire, the findings validate concerns of locals that their health was indeed jeopardised.
The report also noted that coal mine fire may not have be solely responsible, with local bushfires in the area also a potential source of exposure to noxious substances.
Residents of the La Trobe Valley are unfortunately already familiar with the consequences of exposure to toxic chemicals, with the region an epicentre for asbestos related illnesses and deaths. Bree Knoester, partner at Adviceline Injury Lawyers, specialises in assisting victims and their families access compensation after exposure to harmful substances. She also operates our office in Moe to provide expert advice to local residents in the La Trobe Valley. If you or someone you know has developed an illness following exposure to asbestos or other toxic material, we invite you to contact Bree on (03) 9321 9988.