Burners on the Sunshine Coast are known for their self-reliance and ingenuity, and their work ethic is legendary.
But some have noticed an odd trend in recent years.
In the last 10 years, the number of people who have died after a burn has risen from a handful to more than two a week, and in some cases has quadrupled.
In 2017, a burn victim in Queensland’s North West died from “intense and prolonged” pain, and three other people were admitted to hospital after they were burned by the same person, the Queensland Health Service said in a statement.
The most recent case involved a 30-year-old man from Stirling in northern Queensland, who died from heat stroke after being hit with an electric cattle prod, according to the Health Services.
Burners have been hit by a spate of severe burns in recent months, including a 21-year old man who died on the Gold Coast in May.
On June 9, a 51-year‑old man died after being attacked by a black dog on the Brisbane River, according the Queensland Police Service.
A man died on Monday after being burned by an electric fence at a remote property on the West Coast, and a 60-yearold man was hospitalised with severe burns after being electrocuted in the same area in February.
Three Queensland men have died since April, and one man has died from burns after he was hit by an electrical wire on the Central Coast.
One of the most recent deaths happened on July 17, when a 49-year‐old man suffered burns to his right hand and wrist when he was electrocuteed after being knocked down by a tree on the South Island, the Health Service reported.
Last year, an 80-year old man who was electrophysically stimulated by an LED light went into cardiac arrest and died from the effect.
Two Queenslanders have died from electrocution after being struck by an object on the Darling Downs.
Four Queenslanders, including an elderly woman and two children, have been killed by electric fences since May, and five Queenslanders died in 2016 from electroporation, the health service reported.
A man from the Sunshine coast died after he fell from a roof and was electroporated by a friend on the same day.
Some have suggested that the rising number of deaths is a result of the fact that burners are increasingly being targeted.
“We see people being hit by the cattle prod or being electropored, so it’s definitely getting out of control,” said Dr James McCurdy, a senior lecturer in burn treatment at Brisbane University.
He added that the recent spike in burns was “a bit of a wake up call” to the people who were burning, who were not necessarily aware of the dangers they were putting themselves in.
Dr McCurdy said some of the people on the brink of being burned could be “walking on eggshells”, as they had no idea of the severity of the situation they were in.
“The danger is that if you don’t know the severity, you’re not going to do the things you need to do to keep yourself safe,” he said.
‘It’s like you’re going mad’Dr McCuddys assessment is echoed by the Burn Carers of Queensland, which said it was “unlikely” there was a trend towards more burn victims and more fatalities.
An investigation into the cause of the spike in burn deaths began last year and revealed a “significant increase” in electrocutions in Queensland in recent weeks.
But the Queensland Government has defended the trend, saying it had “no evidence” the trend was linked to the use of electrocutes, saying the number had actually fallen since the summer of 2017.
According to the Queensland Office of the Health Care Quality Commissioner, more than 200 people were electrocuterd in Queensland on a given day in May, but that figure dropped to around 25 in July and August, and dropped further to about six in September and October.
However, Queensland Health and Safety said that it had not had an official record of the number who were electropurified, despite the spike.
Mr McCuddies comments came after Queensland Health Services released a statement on Monday afternoon saying there had been a record number of burn deaths last year.
More than 70,000 people have been treated for burn injuries since February last year, the statement said.
More than 80,000 patients have been referred for further assessment, while more than 15,000 burns were identified as life-threatening.
At least one person has died as a result the rise in electropilation in Queensland, the state health service said.