Blacktown firefighters help battle Victorian blaze

Nine  firefighters from Blacktown stations were sent to Victoria last week to relieve their interstate colleagues battling major bushfires and a massive blaze in an open-cut coal mine.

They include Huntingwood Station Officer Daniel Mori, Senior Firefighter Andrew O’Neill, Firefighter Tristram Woods, Seven Hills Station Officer Rob Moore, Firefighter Harry Walker and Firefighter Harry Walker.

A spokeswoman said they had relieved Victorian firefighters at their stations so that they could be sent to the Hazelwood mine fire.

The firefighters started their shift, working alongside their Victorian counterparts, last Thursday. Firefighter Walker was deployed to Patterson River; Station Officer Mori, Senior Firefighter O’Neill and Firefighter Woods to Corio; and Station Officer Moore to Ballarat.

Fire Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said the Victorian Fire Services Commissioner had asked NSW to send fire engines and firefighters to relieve local firefighters who would be sent to the Hazelwood Mine fire.

He also travelled to Victoria for two days, at the request of the Victorian fire services, to provide expert advice on fighting the coalmine fire.

“Victorian firefighters provided assistance to us last October when bushfires ravaged the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Central Coast of NSW,’’ Commissioner Mullins said.

“They worked at several fire stations in the greater Sydney area while Victoria’s Country Fire Authority volunteers worked with the NSW Rural Fire Service.

‘‘We welcome the chance to return this support.

‘‘It’s also a great opportunity for FRNSW firefighters, like those from Blacktown fire stations, to work alongside our interstate counterparts.’’

He said while interstate responses to major fires was now fairly routine, this was the first time NSW had deployed firefighters to work in interstate stations around the clock.

“While local firefighters are providing assistance in Victoria, it is business as usual at their home stations which continue to be staffed by their regular on-shift crews.

‘‘Fire engines deployed to Victoria have been replaced by fully-equipped spare engines.”

Earlier last month 12 FRNSW fire engines and crews were deployed to Victorian bushfire hot spots for three days.

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