VFFA Secretary Greg Godde reports on a car fire that nearly caused the loss of a house:
1724 hrs pager activates to a car fire at a local resident down the road. Whilst enroute to the station I drive passed the residence and see the flames near the house and has spread to the bush burning up hill. Depart station at 1748 hrs advise Firecom backup required as fire has spread to bushland around the house.
Arrive on scene at 1753 hrs in a dual cab Cat 7 with 2 crew and 1200 litres of water and see a car still burning, a caravan fully involved impinging on the north side of the house. Keeping in mind the water supply, the 25 mm live reel was deployed with foam at 6% we concentrated our efforts on the wall of house. The bush alight would just have to wait until further assistance arrived. A 38 mm lay flat and branch were rolled out ready when more water was available. The area was tight with no room to turn the vehicle around and face the pump towards the scene of the fire.
A 22000-litre water tank was situated on a cutting above the house with a pump connected and we hoped it was ready to go. Pump started on the first attempt and we had water abet only by a 25 mm hose to feed into the top of the Cat 7 water tank, but it was a water supply. No access to tank with Storz fitting.
38mm was deployed onto the caravan at a conservative rate to keep the flames away from another vehicle parked next to it.
Assistance arrived in about 15 minutes with vehicles returning back to Gloucester from another fire at Stratford earlier in the afternoon. They had already put a couple of hours in on the fireground. Crews arriving worked on the bush alight.
Further investigation inside the house discovered that the fire had penetrated inside the wall cavity and some of the Gyproc wall and exterior colour bond had to be removed to gain access to extinguish wall studs.
At about 1930 hrs scene was declared safe and released some of the crews to return back to station. Tibbuc 7 remained on scene till after 2000 hrs until the owner and her family were satisfied the fire was out and not in danger of reignition.
How did the fire start? The owner had been out all-day shopping at Forster and returned home just after 1700 hrs. After taking some of the shopping inside the house she heard a loud bang and went outside to see what it was and found her car alight. She phoned her neighbour and tried to put it out with a garden hose and some containers of water. She tried to start the pump but could not get it started.
The neighbour arrived and saw it was too late to do anything and put her in the car and drove away to her place up the road to call 000 as there was no mobile reception.
A timely warning to ensure that if you have any firefighting equipment available it is connected and ready to go at any time.
There is no time for complacency when we can prevent the situation becoming our worst nightmare.