The first indication came with a call from B1 to say that the Auxiliaries had been called out to a structural. Should we turn out or wait for Firecom? Aren’t they supposed to respond us automatically to structurals? Strike 1 Firecom.
No time to lose. The pager finally went off while I was hopping into the ute. The trip to the North End was (admittedly) a little faster than usual, but strangely, there was no obstructing traffic. In fact, everybody seemed to be in a hurry (maybe they were all firies?) The pall of smoke coming from Forest Park was very worrying.
Olle was already at the station and had the doors open ready. Nev arrived to man the base radio. By the time TM13 was rolling, we had SF Paul Gardner, TM2, Olle, Kim and TM1 on board. We passed Guy on the access road and shouted unintelligibly to wait for a crew for 51.
At the fire, we met B1 and our new mate, Rory who had arrived independently. Pete Mason was IC and had us plug TM13 into 664A, which we achieved eventually after Olle reminded TM1 to use the PTO (duh!). B1 and Paul, being BA-qualified, got stuck into the BA deployment. Kim and TM2 went to do traffic control at Constable Geurin’s request, and Olle and Rory assisted the 664A crew with hoses and the portable pump.
TM51 with John Fisher, Guy and Crew Leader Robbo arrived just ahead of Canungra’s 665A. John took over traffic control from TM2, who found his way onto the end of a branch at the sharp end (well done John!), and didn’t surface again until standdown. The rest of the 51 crew had a quiet time of it on standby for water which was never required. But it’s our job to assist so we have to expect that.
It was amusing to note that everywhere you turned you tripped over either a cameraman or some urban brass. Must have been a quiet day elsewhere! No helicopters though.
Eventually all was done that could be done, so we were directed to unplug and standdown. TM51 shot through with pig-pen door flapping. One crew of heavies was sent to extract Roy’s car from a ditch. TM2 sent a Code 4 to Firecom who informed us that TM13 wasn’t at the fire, just TM41 and TM51. Strike 2 Firecom. TM13/41 went home very sedately unaware that lights and beacons were still on.
All in all, another day at the office. The house was lost, but was never going to be saved. No one was hurt, and we got home in time for dinner. Very sad for the owners though – a hell of a Christmas present.