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Vic bushfire victims pursue power company

A multi-million dollar class action has been launched against electricity distributor Powercor over bushfires in southwest Victoria which destroyed homes and ravaged the region's dairy farms.

Lawyers on Wednesday confirmed they have begun a class action in the Supreme Court of Victoria, alleging the March 17 bushfire at Terang was caused when powerlines clashed or arced, leading to molten metal falling to the ground.

The bushfire raged through at least 6500 hectares of farmland, killing thousands of livestock.

Lawyers estimate total losses will exceed $40 million.

Maddens Lawyers' Brendan Pendergast, who successfully sought compensation for bushfire victims after Black Saturday, is confident liability against Powercor will be proven.

"A safe system of electrical distribution should be designed such that arcing and clashing does not occur in high wind, high fire danger circumstances," he said in a statement.

It was lucky no one was killed in the fires, although many people were distressed, he added.

"The community distress is amplified by the fact that many people impacted were also impacted in 1983 as a result of the Ash Wednesday fires, which were also caused by electrical events," Mr Pendergast said.

Multiple fires burned at the same time across southwest Victoria, hitting the areas of Garvoc, Gazette and Camperdown, in combination destroying 30 homes and sheds and killed thousands of cattle and sheep.

The law firm has already issued a $20 million class action against Powercor for victims of the Garvoc fire.

There are further plans to launch similar proceedings in relation to fires at Gazette and Camperdown.

Powercor says it is co-operating with Energy Safe Victoria as it continues to investigate the Terang and Garvoc fires.

"Our thoughts are with all who have been affected," a spokeswoman for the energy company said in a statement to AAP.

The devastating bushfires which spanned more than a week have been dubbed the St Patrick's Day fires.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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