A MUCH-loved and highly respected Rural Fire Service (RFS) inspector tragically died on the weekend.
South West Slopes Inspector Elan Palmer was felling trees on a Cootamundra property on Saturday when he was struck by a tree trunk and trapped.
The 43-year-old father and husband died instantly at the scene.
The fallen trunk caused fatal injuries to his torso.
South West Slopes RFS zone district manager Andrew Dillon confirmed the death of his colleague with “profound sorrow.”
He said the community was in shock and mourning the loss of their highly valued colleague and community member.
“Inspector Palmer was highly respected by NSW RFS members across the state and local firefighters benefited greatly from his technical skill and operational knowledge,” Inspector Dillon said.
“Elan has developed a broad network of firefighting companions who are all shocked at this loss,” he said.
The well-liked team member was known for his companionship, friendship and expertise in fire management.
Inspector Dillon said Inspector Palmers loss would be felt by all members of the South West Slopes RFS team.
Inspector Palmer is survived by his wife Tammy and children.
Inspector Dillon said the RFS had been overwhelmed by messages of support and condolences from the wider community and that the RFS was doing all they could to offer support and assistance to the Palmer family.
Inspector Palmer was an experienced and qualified chainsaw operator who was cutting wood at the time of his death.
The RFS said his death highlighted the danger of tree felling.
Facebook was flooded with tributes for the valued inspector.
Alysson Roberts wrote: “Thinking of you all at this extremely difficult and sad time. Thoughts and prayers are with Tammy, Adam, Emma and families. Very sad news. Xo”.
Paul Andrew Lloyd called the loss a tragic one for the community.
“Our deepest sympathy to Mr Palmer's family, friends and colleagues.
“This is tragic news and we wish to pay our respect during this difficult time - Southern Region REMOs,” he wrote.
Inspector Dillon reminded RFS members to look out for one another during this difficult time.
“I would ask that you keep everyone close to Elan in your prayers during this very difficult time and encourage anyone to avail themselves to the confidential chaplaincy/CISS assistance,” he said in an email on the RFS Facebook page.
Cootamundra Local Area Command Detective Inspector Paul Huxtable told Fairfax Media Inspector Palmer was a highly qualified and experienced chain saw operator.
"This tragedy only highlights the danger that tree felling presents," Inspector Huxtable said.
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