Courier Mail, The (Brisbane), 27/08/2001, pg. 3

THE wife of a stalwart bush fire brigade volunteer heard on UHF radio her husband had been hit by a truck and rushed to him as he lay fatally injured waiting for an ambulance.

Garnet Smoothy, 64, was helping a neighbour with a controlled burn-off near Crows Nest on Saturday afternoon when a truck coming through smoke swerved to avoid the fire-truck and hit Mr Smoothy.

Mr Smoothy was the second firefighter to die in as many days after a Brisbane firefighter died in hospital on Friday. He was hit by a flying object after an explosion at a container yard at the Port of Brisbane.

Queensland Emergency Services Minister Mike Reynolds yesterday paid tribute to the two men and said their deaths highlighted the dangers faced by firefighters every time they put on a uniform.

Mr Smoothy’s son Grant said his father was helping a neighbour with a controlled burn when the mirror of a two-tonne truck hit him in the face and the truck body hit him in the torso.

Mr Smoothy’s wife was at home about 2.30pm and heard firefighters on the UHF radio saying someone was hurt at a burn-off 1km from their farm.

When she discovered it was her husband she rushed to the scene and comforted her husband who had a broken leg and other injuries but was still conscious.

“Mum was talking to him while he was conscious,” Grant Smoothy said.

A Crows Nest ambulance officer took Mr Smoothy to Crows Nest and a doctor met the ambulance and continued resuscitation but Mr Smoothy died about 30 minutes after the accident.

The rural community of Pinelands, 10km north of Crows Nest, was stunned by the death of Mr Smoothy, a farmer who had been a fire brigade volunteer since he was 14 and who
built a fully equipped fire-truck.

Crows Nest police sergeant Neil Gilloway said police and Workplace Health and Safety officers were investigating the accident and a coronial inquiry and autopsy would be held. No charges have been laid.

Mr Smoothy died a day after Brisbane firefighter Jeffrey Penfold, 42, a father of three, who was critically injured when a forklift tyre exploded and struck him during a fire at Fisherman Islands wharf on Thursday night. He died in hospital on Friday.

His brother Chris said the death was a freak accident.

“He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time (but) it goes to show you what they go through,” Mr Penfold said.

Copyright 2001 / Courier Mail