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Helping to rebuild lives
September 13, 2010

Through the generosity of companies like AE Smith, in conjunction with Baulderstone and Brookfield Multiplex, the survivors of the Black Saturday bushfires are beginning to rebuild their lives.

These companies have supported the construction of a Rebuilding Advisory Centre at Kinglake, and another at Marysville, which will provide local communities with a step-by-step guide through the reconstruction process.

The Victorian Black Saturday fires were the worst bushfires in Australia’s history. Those fateful days in February 2009 left a burnt scar on Australia’s landscape. In its wake 173 people lost their lives, many more were seriously injured and 430,000 hectares of land were destroyed, including an estimated 2100 homes.

AE Smith construction manager Darren McGrath is a member of the Patterson River CFA and spent a week at Kinglake fighting the fires. He now heads a team that is responsible for the mechanical installation at the two advisory centres.

He said the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority approached AE Smith, and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Permezel was only too happy to get on board.

“As a company we strive to support local communities,” Darren said. “We have donated the project management, engineering, drafting and site installation for the mechanical services. We have also contacted a number of key suppliers including Fantech to help the cause.”

The new centres are built to the Australian Standard (AS3959:2009) construction of buildings in bushfire prone areas. Fantech has developed a specialist range of products to this standard, including the GL Gamma vertical exhaust roof unit which was donated to each of the new centres. This product is made from galvanised steel and includes a bronze mesh cover over its inlet to prevent the entry of burning embers.

Darren said the Black Saturday fires were the biggest he had been associated with during his 25 years with the CFA. “It’s great to be involved with the advisory centres and know that you are doing something positive to help these people get their lives back on track.”


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