Volunteers quick to respond

By Jamie Salter

Northern Victorian CFA volunteers quickly responded to a fire that erupted before their eyes in NSW.

Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria chief executive officer Adam Barnett said the volunteers reflected professionalism and high quality training.

“Incidents like this show why we invest so much time, energy and effort into improving CFA and working together to make it a better place to volunteer and work,” Mr Barnett said.

The team included volunteers and tankers from Yea, Alexandra, Kilmore, Kinglake, Dookie and Strathbogie.

Yea volunteer Neil Beer said strike team members based at the Singleton Army barracks were refuelling vehicles when they noticed the fire starting.

“We were going to fill up the forward command vehicle and were heading towards the main highway when we saw a puff of smoke coming up from the rear of a passing coal train,” Mr Beer said.

“The next thing there were flames and there was a strong wind, probably 40-45 km/h, and within a minute it had covered more than 100 metres.”

The volunteers met a traffic policeman who closed the New England Hwy as a NSW Rural Fire Service tanker arrived and the Victorian volunteers called Singleton to arrange two strike teams.

The fire jumped the highway, went into a river flat area and stopped within 50 m.

“The concern was there was a fuel station about 200 m away but it was kept contained,” Mr Beer said.