New fire trucks ‘too big’

Stations need modifications

TWO new CFA trucks to replace outdated vehicles at Belmont and Corio are too large for their sheds, according to the United Fire Fighters Union.

A union spokesman told the Independent that a replacement mobile communications vehicle (MCV) to be sent to Belmont was “too tall” to fit in its motor room and a new Hazmat truck for Corio was “too long”.

“It’s beyond belief someone could build a truck that doesn’t fit in a fire station – twice,” the spokesman said.

“The station needs modifications to fit it.”

Firefighters at Belmont were still using an “old, out-dated, cumbersome” MCV, putting the community at risk, he said.

“The Hazmat that’s out at Corio at the moment was given to us by the CFA in 1987 as temporary. They realised we didn’t have the capability to deal with chemical spills so they made up a removalist truck with a heap of stuff thrown in it.

“We’ve still got it in 2013. It’s almost laughable.”

The spokesman said gas suits, showers and recovery drums were “thrown in the back” of the current Hazmat truck that serviced the region between Ballarat, Hoppers Crossing, Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula.

“They’ve spent half a million dollars to build a new one but it’s too long to fit in the motor room – you can’t open the door at the back of it.”

The new truck was currently in storage at Dandenong South.

The union wanted staffing at Corio station to increase from five full-time fire-fighters to seven to account for the new vehicle, the spokesman said.

“At Corio with the amount of gear they have, we won’t be prepared to accept it without extra manning.

accept it without extra manning.

“Corio has a large amount of equipment and we can’t operate all the equipment we’ve got. We don’t have the ability to respond sometimes.”

CFA media relations co-ordinator Gerard Scholton said Corio’s new Hazmat truck would provide the Geelong community with “state-of-the-art capability”. “CFA is pleased to confirm that a new Heavy Hazmat truck is expected to be delivered to Corio within eight weeks.

“Training is underway at Shepparton and, once completed, will move progressively to other locations, including Corio.”

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