A Victorian law firm has launched a class action on behalf of those affected by the Carwoola bushfire on February 17, with the lawyer leading the case speculating a claim bill of more than $15 million.
Maddens Lawyers issued proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court against Advanced Plumbing and Drains Pty Ltd on behalf of residents and business owners burnt out by the fire.
A tradesman came forward after the blaze to claim it was sparked by building work on his property.
The man donated $10,000 to one of several Go Fund Me pages set up in the wake of the disaster.
Madden's senior partner Brendan Pendergast said the proceedings allege the Carwoola fire ignited on private property in the course of an Advanced Plumbing employee undertaking work involving the use of a power-cutting wheel that caused the discharge of sparks.
Mr Pendergast said February 17 was a total fire ban day.
"The conditions on the day were hot, dry and windy. The use of steel cutting equipment in these weather conditions, and on a rural property, carries with it a significant bushfire risk," he said.
"Our preliminary inquiries indicate that appropriate precautions were not put in place to eliminate or reduce that risk."
Mr Pendergast said the class action was a secure and low-risk means for the residents and businesses marred by the fire to claim funds their insurance policies did not cover.
"Maddens has extensive experience in representing bushfire victims. We are acutely aware of the emotional and economic impact a bushfire can have on people," he said.
"We've successfully settled class actions for four different communities that were burnt out during the Black Saturday bushfires of February 7, 2009.
"We have also represented hundreds of bushfire victims impacted by the October 2013 Springwood/Winmalee bushfire and secured millions of dollars of compensation for losses that occurred as a result of that fire.
"Quite simply, Carwoola residents have suffered losses that are not their fault. They are losses that would not have occurred had the right procedures been followed.
"There is no reason these residents should sit back and just accept that this fire occurred, and accept the damage that it did.
"There is every reason for them to ask the question of what they are due, because it is what they deserve."
Advanced Plumbing and Drains Pty Ltd have until May 26, 2017 to file a defence to the proceeding.
The same law firm has also mounted a class action over the Currandooley fire, which burnt out almost 3400 hectares near Tarago in January.
Representing 33 individuals owning 22 properties, Mr Pendergast said the action alleges that Infigen Energy "was aware of the risk that a bird strike to its high voltage power line could cause a fire".
"Further, it was aware of previous similar incidents, but failed to take appropriate steps to address the risk until after the fire," he said.
The blaze started at Capital Wind Farm off Taylors Creek Road near Tarago on the morning of January 17. It tore through 3384ha, fanned by strong winds and fuelled by high heat and dry conditions.
Infigen has denied any liability.
In a statement, the company said Maddens Lawyers had not provided any information to support the amount of loss and damage.
"Infigen denies any liability in respect of the alleged loss and damage and will work with its legal advisers to defend the proceedings accordingly. Infigen maintains appropriate insurance," the company said.