Larrikin great granddad dies in horror bushfires
A loved great-grandfather and town "larrikin" has been identified as the first victim of East Gippsland's bushfire tragedy.
Mick Roberts, 67, was found dead inside his fire-ravaged home in Buchan this morning.
His body was discovered by his nephew, Jason, who delivered the sad news to family.
Mr Roberts' niece, Leah Parsons, told the Herald Sun her uncle had been painting his home with two mates before the bushfire hit.
"They ran into the river on the property but they couldn't get him to go," she said.
"He said he needed to go into the shed for a minute and they never saw him again."
Mr Roberts was a cattleman who loved his family and farm, located on 450 acres of land on Sunny Point Rd.
He had a daughter, step daughter, step son and great grandchildren and spent Christmas with family in Melbourne.
Ms Parsons said her family were "numb" with grief at his death.
Mr Roberts was seen as "a bit of a legend in town" and will be missed, she said.
"He was an amazing worker and storyteller … a bit like old Jack Thompson," she said.
"He was a real larrikin. He was brought up tough … he had lots of kids in his family.
"He never complained about anything. He was a real salt of the Earth sort of guy.
"He was always walking around in his blue overalls and work boots.
"We are devastated and numb. He was my favourite uncle … his home was a constant swinging door of people who would come to visit.
"He was very very loved."
Locals are also mourning his tragic death as devastation sweeps the town.
Mr Roberts was described by his niece as "old school" and that he would "always defend his home" if faced with fire.
"He believed you don't run from anything," she said.
About 200 residents are sheltered at the local pub in Buchan as they await news about the state of the town, where at least 24 structures have been lost.
There is still no power but food is being provided at the relief centre.
Blackened trees can be seen lining deserted roads into town and roads remain closed.