After receiving a page from firecom at 1840 for a turnout to a fire in the service area at the Botanical Gardens in Forsythia Drive and a following page at 1842 for both of our trucks to attend to supply water to the red trucks, TM 52 with Greg left first and were followed by TM 51 with John H, Paris, Kent and Geoff R and then the distant travelers in Roger, Don and Japp attended in TM 81. Tony arrived in his private vehicle.
The fire was in the machinery shed well into the bowels of the gardens with narrow winding tracks which proved to test the skills of the drivers. The shed contained a utility, tractor, two week old mower, a large heap of mulch and numerous other tools and equipment. The three roller door shed had been closed and locked at 1430 and when the first appliance arrived the doors were open and the contents well alight.
The fire call was received by firecom at 1811.
664 Alpha was deemed to be too heavy to cross the arch concrete bridge so 664 Charlie was taken to the fire and we kept the supply of water up to 664 Charlie by doing runs to Holt Road water supply in a shuttle. The track into the equipment shed would only allow for one way traffic from the car park to the shed and the turning area at the shed was very tight with 664 Charlie, a police vehicle and a QAS vehicle and one of our trucks filling Charlie. QAS was in attendance as the Auxiliaries were using BA and unfortunately one of the fire fighters sustained a possible broken arm. So if you see a likeable larrikin walking the street with his arm in a cast be prepared for a great story from him as how it happened.
Being down in the valley we experienced radio communications difficulties between the fire site and the trucks refilling with water which was overcome by TM 81 parked near the big fig tree at the end of Gallery Walk and relaying communications between the fire site and the trucks. TM 81 also, in the early stages, drove some of the street looking for the perpetrators, all to no avail. It was rumored that two males and at least one female were involved in the break-in and the subsequence fire.
The mulch proved to be a problem to extinguish as no matter how much water was sprayed on it, it kept smoldering. This was over-come by three or four of our firefighters donning the bushfire masks of the auxiliaries and using rake hoes to pull the straw/mulch apart so that the fire could be completely extinguished. Whilst the masks gave very good protection from the smoke, they made the wearers very hot and they looked exhausted when they came out of the shed. Drinking water was becoming scarce and a trip back to our station for more water was undertaken.
Some of the gardens’ volunteers attended and they were devastated by the loss of their shed and the equipment, some of which was new. The shed is council property and the equipment belongs to the volunteers. They also seemed concerned as to how long it would take to rebuild as it is not in their control and the equipment is needed to be on site, specially coming into summer to control the grass.
It was also proved last night that you shouldn’t place your glasses and keys on the front of a vehicle and then drive off, for surely they will fall off and be of little use after that.