An elderly Perth woman who owned land where a fallen power pole sparked a bushfire which razed 57 homes is being taken to court by affected property owners.
The fire in Perth’s hills in January 2014 started when the wooden pole, on land belonging to Noreen Campbell, fell over in gusty winds and ignited dry grass.
More than 80 residents have started legal action against Western Power, alleging the power pole was used by the utility, which therefore had a responsibility to maintain it.
The residents are also suing contractors Thiess, arguing that when its workers inspected the pole in July 2013, they did not detect it was extensively damaged by termites and fungal rot, and that it should have been repaired or replaced.
Both Western Power and Thiess are defending the legal action, maintaining they were not responsible for the pole because it was on private property.
Today at a directions hearing in the Supreme Court, the residents’ lawyer, Lachlan Armstrong, said Mrs Campbell, as the owner of the land, was being added as a defendant in the case.
He said it was being alleged that Mrs Campbell had an obligation to maintain the pole.
“It’s alleged that as a result of her breach of duty of care, the pole fell down and the bushfire started,” he said.
Mrs Campbell was not in court for the hearing, but she was represented by a lawyer.
The case has been adjourned until a further directions hearing in March next year.