TM52’s Baptism of Fire

by John Robertson

At 13.25 a page came for a fire at 162 Macdonnell Road. First off were Rory and Robbo in 52 closely followed by TM1, Darryl and David in 41. Neville in 51 came a little while later. John Fisher manned the base radio in his inimitable fashion.

The fire was on and spreading from an extensive building site which was being landscaped. There were two large piles of timber which had a permit to burn. However the permit holder (the owner) was absent when the landscape contractor decided to light both piles simultaneously. On his return the owner was dismayed to see both piles well alight and a considerably area of grass and scrub also burning. This scrub led to other houses nearby. The contractor did not have the capacity to control two fires at one time. Small willies were to be seen coming through the fires carrying embers with them.

Rory was OIC initially and then TM1 became incident controller. The fire was burning up hill and expanding in a south-westerly direction while doing so. The essential thing was to stop that spread. TM52 took up position on the lower level where the fire had started and attacked it uphill and ‘from the black" (way to go!). It was 52’s first real fire and it performed excellently. Both 50 metre rubber hoses were deployed and the 2,000 litre tank kept them both running hard for some 35 minutes. This, together with the sterling work of 41 and 51 on the top level, effectively controlled the fire. Both 41 and 52 (twice) drafted water from an on-site dam. This is an admirable facility which should be provided at all bush fires.

At 15.10 TM1 advised Firecom that the fire was controlled, that the owners would monitor it and that all TM vehicles were code 4. The three trucks, fully replenished, were Code 5 back at the Station by 15.30. Following a debrief standown was at 16.00.

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