“He was blown away by the volunteer turnout,” said Officer In Charge, Operations Officer Craig Brittain who was also in attendance. “We also called in Golden Square pumper and salvage unit and they’re an all-volunteer station."
Incident: Kennington structure fire
Date: 28 April 2012
Brigades: Bendigo, Golden Square
“This one was cooking away for a while before it broke through and everyone on scene worked extremely hard for about 45 minutes. It was a butcher’s shop with an adjoining post office and very early on we knew that fire was going through the roof space into the post office. We had members hauling out lots of equipment but also mail from the post office – that became a focus pretty quickly.
“The crews did a fantastic job in preventing further spread of the fire, protecting the area of origin, which was vitally important as forensic chemists were called in to conduct an investigation but most of all, retrieving mail from the post office which we found out later contained some personal and irreplaceable items.
“A nice lady had something irreplaceable in a parcel in the post office,” continued Craig. “She just thanked us all so much. She was just so relieved and that message was passed around to all the firefighters.”
The fire was deemed suspicious and the butcher’s shop was destroyed.
The procedure at Bendigo is for career firefighters to respond in the trucks with the volunteers meeting them on scene. “We usually get the volunteers to head off straight after incidents so we don’t impose on their time to much,” continued Craig.
“That night, about 10 volunteers came back to the station afterwards and assisted with the restowing of the appliances to get them back online as quickly as possible. That was very much appreciated.”
Bendigo career firefighters and volunteers train together three times a month. The integrated brigade is working towards volunteers delivering some of that training.
“We want to make sure our volunteers can take advantage of leadership opportunities,” explained Craig. “Our Senior Station Officers and Leading Firefighters have a massive amount of knowledge and skills that they can impart because it’s their profession – they’re here all the time. We’re putting them in mentor roles to our volunteers so they can tap into that experience.
“It’s all about finding more and better ways to work in together. At the end of the day, we are all here for the same reason, to serve the community of Bendigo.”
With thanks to the Bendigo Advertiser for all photographs.
By Leith Hillard