Long fight for local victim

FIGHTER: Dave Lobb remains in a critical condition. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

FIGHTER: Dave Lobb remains in a critical condition. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

THE community of Rochester is proving the compassion and unity of small towns by banding together to support a man fighting for his life after a gas explosion at the weekend. 

Dave Lobb, 52, and Barry Purtell, 34, were helping a mate move a fridge at the Rochester Hotel when a flash fire occured about 1.30pm. 

The two men suffered burns to 40 to 50 per cent of their body, including their airways. 

Mr Purtell later died in hospital and Mr Lobb, who lives and works in Rochester, remains in an induced coma at The Alfred hospital. 

Ashley Conway and her fiance Corey Trist this week called on the community to help - and had been humbled by the support of the region. 

"We're planning a jam session to help Dave with his long road to recovery and we are still hopeful that he will be moving and able to attend the event," Ms Conway said. 

"Lots of bands and local businesses have jumped on board to help and it just means so much."

She said doctors had initially called the family together to say goodbye to Mr Lobb, so every hour was "defying the odds". 

"He is clinging onto life and is on a lot of life support," she said. 

"His body went into shock but we are helping him until he can help himself."

A fund has been set up to aid Mr Lobb's recovery and help Mr Purtell's two children. 

The bank account is titled "Give a little to two mates who gave a lot"; BSB: 013770, ACC: 288805878. 

People can call Ms Conway on 0478 411 954 or Mr Trist on 0437 526 739 to help. 

Victoria Police and WorkCover are investigating the incident. 

TRIBUTE: Barry Purtell. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

TRIBUTE: Barry Purtell. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

INVESTIGATE: A man from Energy Safe, Victoria, enters the hotel.

INVESTIGATE: A man from Energy Safe, Victoria, enters the hotel.

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