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Bushfire crisis: Samuel McPaul hugged his wife and kissed their unborn child before last mission

The volunteer firefighter who was killed when his ten-tonne truck was overturned by a ‘fire tornado’ had hugged his wife and kissed their unborn child before he went out on what proved to be his last mission.

Samuel McPaul, 28, was killed on Monday when he was battling a blaze in Jingellic, in Green Valley, about 70km east of Albury on the border of NSW and Victoria.

Mr McPaul, who had been married to wife Megan for 18 months, embraced the love of his life and gave her pregnant tummy a kiss before he headed out on his ill-fated mission, a relative told The Daily Telegraph.

Volunteer firefighter Samuel McPaul (pictured with his wife Megan) was tragically killed when a 10-tonne truck rolled on Monday

The unnamed family member said Mrs McPaul was struggling to process the loss of her husband.

She’s also concerned about the crew members who were with Mr McPaul when he died. 

‘She doesn’t want them to feel guilty. It was a freak accident, no one did anything wrong,’ the relative said. 

‘Sam was never left alone, it was over quickly but there was always someone with him.’ 

One crew member, 39, who was also battling the fire in the refuge area of a property, suffered serious burns, while the driver, 52, suffered minor injuries. 

A second vehicle was also blown over in the same area and the firefighters on board were taken to hospital. 

‘The truck has been hit by a tornado, tipped on its side, we’ve got a crew member down,’ a desperate firefighter was heard saying in an emergency broadcast.

Mr McPaul, who had been married to wife Megan for 18 months, embraced the love of his life and he 'kissed their unborn child' the last time he saw them

Mr McPaul, who had been married to wife Megan for 18 months, embraced the love of his life and he ‘kissed their unborn child’ the last time he saw them

The unnamed family member said Mrs McPaul is struggling to process the loss of her husband

The unnamed family member said Mrs McPaul is struggling to process the loss of her husband

The relative said the couple were ‘so in love’ and Mr McPaul gave so much to the community.

NSW Rural Fire Service Superintendent Patrick Westwood said Mr McPaul’s crew were leaving the area they were in when extreme winds created a ‘fire tornado’ which flipped the truck.

Mr McPaul married his long-time love Megan in April last year. The pair were expecting their first child on May 4, an emotional NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons confirmed on Tuesday.  

The relative said the couple were 'so in love' and Mr McPaul gave so much to the community

The relative said the couple were ‘so in love’ and Mr McPaul gave so much to the community

The pair are expecting their first child in the New Year. They were married in April last year

 The pair are expecting their first child in the New Year. They were married in April last year

The newly wed had been fighting a blaze in Jingellic, in Green Valley, about 70km east of Albury on the border of NSW and Victoria, on Monday when strong winds caused the 10-tonne firetruck to roll

The newly wed had been fighting a blaze in Jingellic, in Green Valley, about 70km east of Albury on the border of NSW and Victoria, on Monday when strong winds caused the 10-tonne firetruck to roll

Mr Fitzsimmons said it was a ‘very, very sad day for the NSW Rural Fire Service family locally and across the state’.

He said the service’s senior chaplain spent time overnight with Mr McPaul’s family.  

Tributes to Mr McPaul, who has been described a much-loved and respected member the Morven Brigade in the Southern Border Team, had been flooding through on social media. 

He was the third firefighter killed in the current bushfire crisis, and the overall death toll had reached 12 people.

Two other firefighters died on December 19 after a tree fell on their truck while they were travelling through Buxton, south of Sydney.  

Andrew O’Dwyer, 36, and Geoffrey Keaton, 32, were later named as the volunteers involved in the tragic accident the following day.

Both men were young fathers and had volunteered with the Horsley Park Rural Fire Service brigade for more than a decade. 

Mr Keaton had a young 19-month-old son Harvey, and Mr O’Dwyer had a 19-month-old daughter Charlotte, and two young sons. 

A resident who lived on the street where the crash took place told Daily Mail Australia the deafening sound near ‘scared the life out of him’.

Andrew O'Dwyer, 36, with his daughter Charlotte

Geoffrey Keaton, 32, was the deputy captain of the Horsley Park RFS brigade

Andrew O’Dwyer (left) and Geoffrey Keaton (right) were killed when their truck rolled off the road after hitting a fallen tree at Buxton, south of Sydney

The RFS on Monday afternoon confirmed a firefighter died battling blazes after the truck rolled

The RFS on Monday afternoon confirmed a firefighter died battling blazes after the truck rolled

He said at the time multiple trucks had passed through the same row of burnt out trees just moments before the tragedy, and said it could’ve happened to anybody.

‘Just the timing of it all,’ he said. ‘Seconds later or seconds earlier and it wouldn’t have happened.’   

Two people also died in South Australian fires before Christmas, including 69-year-old engineer Ron Selth.

His body was found in his Charleston home, which was destroyed by the Cudlee Creek blaze on December 21.

Another person died in a fiery car crash on the same day. 

In early November, just weeks into the horror fire season which has been baring down on the nation for months, three people perished in northern NSW.

George Nole’s body was found in a burnt out car near his home in Glen Innes while 63-year-old Julie Fletcher’s body was pulled from a scorched building in Johns River, north of Taree.

A Fire and Rescue personal watches a bushfire as it burns near homes on the outskirts of the town of Bilpin on December 19

A Fire and Rescue personal watches a bushfire as it burns near homes on the outskirts of the town of Bilpin on December 19

Vivian Chaplain, a 69-year-old woman from Wytaliba, succumbed to her injuries in hospital after attempting in vain to save her home and animals from the blaze. 

The fourth victim was named just days later as 58-year-old Barry Parsons.

His body was discovered in bushland on the southern end of the Kyuna Track at Willawarrin, near Kempsey, on November 13. 

The discovery came five days after he was last seen. That same day he posted on Facebook describing the horror conditions.

Patrick Salway, 29, (pictured with his pregnant wife Renee) died fighting the fires with his father Robert Salway

Patrick Salway, 29, (pictured with his pregnant wife Renee) died fighting the fires with his father Robert Salway

Bereaved widow Renee Salway took to social media on Tuesday (pictured) and said she is 'broken'. 'I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will,' she wrote

Bereaved widow Renee Salway took to social media on Tuesday (pictured) and said she is ‘broken’. ‘I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will,’ she wrote

‘Seriously looks and sounds like apocolyse (sic) out there. F**ked up being on your own in these times,’ Mr Parsons’ post read.

Mr Parsons had reportedly been living alone in a shed in the remote area.

A father and son died on Monday bravely battling to defend their homes in Cobargo, New South Wales.

Dairy farmer Patrick Salway, 29, and his father Robert, 63, died trying to defend their home from bushfires.

Mr Salway was expecting a second child with his pregnant wife Renee, who paid tribute to her husband on Tuesday night, telling friends she was ‘broken’. 

‘I love you now, I love you still, I always have and I always will,’ she wrote.

‘I will see you again Patrick, my best friend. Hope you are up there “fixing things in the stars tonight”.’

More than 130 fires remain burning in NSW, with five at an emergency level. 

In Victoria’s East Gippsland, a popular holiday destination, 33 fires are still burning and 43 properties have been destroyed.  

In addition to the lives lost, more than 1,000 properties have been destroyed across the nation – 900 in NSW alone – and thousands more animals who once called the bushland home have died. 

The East Gippsland region remains on high alert as of early Tuesday.  Emergency alerts were issued in Bruthen, Lake Entrance, Nowa Nowa and surrounding areas late Monday.  An evacuation alert was also issued for residents in Walwa as a large uncontrolled fire from the NSW border crossed into Victoria

The East Gippsland region remains on high alert as of early Tuesday.  Emergency alerts were issued in Bruthen, Lake Entrance, Nowa Nowa and surrounding areas late Monday.  An evacuation alert was also issued for residents in Walwa as a large uncontrolled fire from the NSW border crossed into Victoria

This extraordinary picture was snapped in the East Gippsland town of Bairnsdale late on Monday night

This extraordinary picture was snapped in the East Gippsland town of Bairnsdale late on Monday night 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk