NSW firefighters claim fire cutbacks have increased danger

Firies claim staff cutbacks increased the danger to the community during the Caltex fuel spill in Banksmeadow last month |

Lack of training and staff cutbacks put the community’s lives at greater risk when about 150,000 litres of fuel leaked at the Caltex site in Banksmeadow last month, fire fighters claim.

Maroubra fire fighter Colin Gale said the Matraville crew attended the scene on July 12 with the appropriate equipment but were left with no choice but to wait for Caltex to arrive with a foam supply from Kurnell because they didn’t have the required training to the deal with the incident.

The Botany station was closed on the day of the spill while the crew worked at the Campsie station but Mr Gale said the Botany staff had the familiarisation training needed for the job.

Mr Gale, who has been a fire fighter for 26 years, said the first officer described it as “sheer luck” that that an explosion didn’t occur from the spill that took 27 hours to clean up.

Caltex fuel spill

Fire Brigade units worked throughout the night to contain about 157,000 litres of unleaded fuel leak at the Caltex refinery at Banksmeadow. Picture: Bill Hearne Source: The Daily Telegraph

About Darin Sullivan (1980 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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