Australia fire death toll at 3 as damage tops $44M

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ADELAIDE, Australia: Australians were counting the cost of bushfires Friday, with officials saying a volunteer firefighter died from a suspected heart attack while battling an eastern blaze and a southern inferno razed at least 35 homes. The latest death came after two people were killed Wednesday when an “Armageddon-like” blaze swept through parts of South Australia, leaving insurance claims of A$61 million (US$44 million) in its wake. The 48-year-old firefighter collapsed and died after he and New South Wales state Rural Fire Service (RFS) colleagues were tackling a blaze near Cessnock, north of Sydney, late Thursday.

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