FIVE CAREER FIREFIGHTERS ATTACHED TO SUNBURY FIRE BRIGADE have been awarded the Chief Officer’s Commendation in recognition of their outstanding operational efforts at a house fire in September 2016.

Recognised with the commendations were Senior Station Officer Dean Opie, Qualified Fire Fighter Steve Giles, Leading Fire Fighter Joff Van Ek, Fire Fighter Sean Doherty and Fire Fighter Paul Purcell. In his

report SSO Opie said: “Sunbury pumper was dispatched to a kitchen fire at a unit which was part of a complex that contained five free standing separate units. “There was smoke billowing from the front of the unit and during size up other residents informed that there was an elderly disabled wheel chaired bound lady (83 years old)  still inside the burning structure. “I was at the front door and called out and I could hear a response coming from the rear. LFF Van Ek and FF Doherty by this stage had donned BA and were instructed to enter the house with a charged HP hose reel to conduct a primary search. LFF Giles was instructed to run out another HP hose reel and conduct an external attack fire wearing BA. Both HP hose reels were run out, fully charged and placed in a ready position by driver and pump operator FF Purcell.  “The house was heavily smoke logged and visibility was nil. LFF Van Ek and FF Doherty located the elderly lady in a semi-conscious state on the couch. (We were contacted by the 000 call taker who informed us that the resident had called 000 at 1806 and had kept the line open meaning that the call taker could hear the events unfolding. The rescue was performed at 1812 hours meaning that within two minutes of being on scene, both fire fighters had donned BA, had a charged line run out, conducted a search and located her). “The resident was a very large lady and being disabled and semi-conscious could not assist with her rescue. Both fire fighters had managed to get her to within two metres of the front door and were unable to go further as LFF Van Ek injured his back whilst attempting the rescue. FF Giles and myself then entered the hallway and completed the rescue. “The woman was saying she could not breath. We managed to get her to the front of the house, sit her up and give her oxygen. LFF Van Ek and FF Doherty along with Sunbury Tanker 2 fire fighters Gary McMillian and Paul Brown, whilst wearing BA then attacked the quickly spreading fire and managed to contain it to the origin of the structure. MAS did not arrive on scene for approximately a further 10 minutes. FF Giles stayed with the woman, giving her oxygen and monitoring her using his EMR skills until such time as the Ambulance arrived. He also administered first aid to her husband. During a secondary search we located the family dog behind the couch. The dog was fine.”

In presenting the commendations Chief Officer Steve Warrington congratulated each of the recipients praising them on their outstanding efforts.