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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Support for families after tragedy

Friends of Barry Purtell and David Lobb have rallied around to start fundraising for the pair, who were involved in a gas explosion at Hotel Rochester on Sunday.

June 18, 2014 8:40am

A forensic expert taking photos outside the cellar door of Hotel Rochester.


Friends of Barry Purtell and David Lobb have rallied around to start fundraising for the pair, who were involved in a gas explosion at Hotel Rochester on Sunday.

Mr Purtell, 34, died as a result and left behind two young children.

Late yesterday, Mr Lobb, 52, remained in a critical condition at the Alfred hospital.

The accident unfolded about 1.30pm on Sunday when the pair were moving equipment in the cellar of the hotel.

Echuca Criminal Investigations Unit Senior Detective David Quinlan said Mr Purtell died at 5.10pm.

He described Mr Purtell as ‘‘brave and courageous’’ for helping his friend Mr Lobb at the scene.

Sen. Detective Quinlan was unable to comment further on Mr Purtell’s actions.

‘‘That’s what they do in a small country town,’’ he said.

Nanneella mechanic Tony Murphy, who worked with Mr Purtell, described him as a man with a ‘‘heart of gold’’.

‘‘He would never see anyone stuck,’’ he said.

‘‘He had a great sense of humour...He would call a spade a spade.’’

Mr Murphy said his colleague was a self-taught mechanic and a pedantic worker.

Sen. Detective Quinlan said the incident was being treated as a nasty accident at this stage.

Forensic experts are investigating.

A flyer to promote the fundraising efforts for the men says they were injured ‘‘while doing what they always didhelping their mates’’.

‘‘Unfortunately despite the best efforts of emergency services, Barry succumbed to his injuries. Dave is still in a medically induced coma,’’ it reads.

‘‘Dave has a long road to recovery ahead and will need constant care and an enormous amount of support.’’

Friends are calling on any person or business who may be able to aid the fundraising effort. Requests are being made for goods, services or financial assistance.

The donations will be auctioned or raffled at a later date to assist with ongoing support for the families.

Donations can be made to an account called ‘Dave and Barry’, BSB 013770, ACC 288805878.

You can also contact Corey on 0437526739 or Ashley on 0478411954 to organise delivery or collection of goods and services.

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