UFU Victoria

United Firefighters Union of Australia
Victorian Branch


Despite employing a PR and media team that outnumbers most Ministers offices, no one from FRV would go on air to address the catastrophic failure of Pumper 57 at a house fire in Truganina last Thursday when requested by 3AW on Friday.

Rather FRV headquarters put out two short statements that shamefully dismissed accounts provided by Firefighters on scene who had to perform a search and rescue mission without water coverage. Which resulted in Firefighters rescuing a person and their pets from the burning building.

The statements used spin and untruths to cover up a lack of investment in Fire Rescue Victoria’s equipment.

On Monday night, Commissioner Freeman attempted to crabwalk away from these statements, issuing a statement that outlines a ‘review process’.

Rather than apologise to the public, the media and the residents of the house that burnt down, an ‘After-Action Review’ process has been initiated.

Additionally, at no stage has FRV or Commissioner Freemen acknowledged the excellent work by Fire fighters on scence from station 57 working under immense pressure and duress to affect the rescue of the occupant from the burning structure.

These reviews are often used to pass the buck and attempt to blame fire fighters for putting their lives on the line when responding to an emergency. Instead of undertaking an AAR in response to the action of the firefighters on the night, the focus should clearly be on the mismanagement of Fire Rescue resources by FRV and the Government, in allowing the Fleet to reach such a dilapidated state.

In part the statement reads:

“It appears the records relating to this incident may not have fully reflected what happened on scene. This led FRV to provide information to media advising that “incident logs indicate there were no reports of equipment faults impacting firefighter or community safety.”

It is becoming increasingly clear that Fire Fighters and the community cannot trust Commissioner Freeman to provide Victoria with a Fire Rescue Service that they deserve and pay for via their Fire Service Levy.

It is time for Minister Symes to be responsible for their portfolio. If Minister Symes will not, Jacinta Allan must step in.