Monday, April 15, 2024

Beaufort evacuees await news on their homes, cooler conditions ahead

United Firefighters Union Victorian branch secretary Peter Marshall has written to Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes, demanding an urgent response to restore the state of Fire Rescue Victoria’s fleet.

In a statement, the union said two firefighting vehicles broke down on the way to the Beaufort fires on Thursday.

“A 15-year-old Mk pumper tanker deployed as part of an emergency strike team broke down on the Western Highway in Ballan and, as of 10pm Thursday, had not been repaired,” the statement said.

“A second pumper tanker sent to replace that vehicle overheated and was unable to leave the Beaufort fire station. That truck was also 15 years old – the age at which fire trucks are meant to be retired and replaced under current policy.

“Just before midnight, the second pumper tanker gave up, resulting in FRV needing to deploy a further appliance out of its own operations to complete the strike team.”

Marshall said the FRV fleet was in such a state of disrepair that frontline appliances were breaking down on their way to critical deployments.

“Fire Rescue Victoria has for over two years raised the need for replacement appliances and funding for such.

“FRV asked the minister to rectify the problem, and the minister ignored it.

“This situation cannot be considered acceptable,” he said.

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