Russell Crowe’s niece has spoken out after his property was damaged by New South Wales’ ‘catastrophic’ bushfires, hitting back at ‘bulls**t’ claims that the Oscar winner’s estate was given preferential treatment by firefighters.
Chelsea Crowe, the daughter of Russell’s only brother Terry, made the statement in a lengthy Facebook post after a distraught neighbour suggested emergency services flocked to the actor’s residence instead of the homes of ‘normal, everyday people’ – a claim the NSW Rural Fire Service has also rubbished.
Setting the record straight
Chelsea, who is believed to live near her uncle’s palatial 320-hectare property in Nana Glen, west of Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast, said, “Unfortunately, there is a lot of gossip and bulls**t going around that fire crews abandoned properties in favour to protect Russell's home.”
“If you look at a map and knew the boundary lines the entire property is backed by Tallawudjah and the state forest. Whilst they moved to (sic) crews to a previously scouted vantage point to attack it as it came through the ridge.
“This move was not to protect his buildings in particular. It wouldn't have mattered who lived there. So if you think they were favouring a few buildings of his only, kindly f**k off.”
Although she didn’t reference any critic in particular, Chelsea is likely referring to a neighbour who suggested emergency fire services gave the star’s home preferential treatment while battling the blaze.
“I'm angry because our friends’ house is there burning and all the trucks go to Russell Crowe's,” the local woman told Seven News on Tuesday evening.
“What about normal, everyday people?”
The NSW Rural Fire Service were quick to set the record straight, and told Daily Mail that they would have had no idea who owned the house.
“Firefighters are not aware of whose homes they are being sent to – aerial crews wouldn’t be aware of whose property they are going to either,” a spokesperson told the publication.
“Crews are dispatched on priority of jobs and the properties that need it the most, we are not aware of who owns the properties.”
Confirming the damage
On Wednesday, Russell took to Twitter to confirm his property was in fact damaged by the fires, writing he had ‘lost a couple of buildings, but overall [has been] very lucky so far’.
“Fire hit my place late in the day yesterday. My heart goes out to everyone in the valley,” he wrote.
“I’m not in Australia. My family are safe, billeted with friends.”
Firefighters have been working through catastrophic conditions to protect lives and keep bushfires across NSW away from homes.
More than a million hectares of land has been consumed by bushfires that damaged or destroyed 12 more homes since Tuesday.
The bushfires, which first hit hard on Friday, have claimed four lives and destroyed at least 150 homes so far.