APRIL 2003


HYDROGEN LEAK SPARKS EMERGENCY/By Scott Deller                         28th April 2003

At approximately 1330 this afternoon fire crews were called to the Kurnell Oil Refinery in Sydney's South after a gas cylinder was damaged. A forklift carrying a palette of helium and hydrogen cylinders had fallen from the vehicle resulting in the head of a 9.1C/M hydrogen cylinder being cracked. NSWFB Pumps 54, 46 as well as RFS vehicles FCO2 and Heathcote 7A responded immediately to the scene. Kurnell were also paged but were later not required as a stop was issued. The area was rendered safe by the NSWFB and a stop was given at approximately 1415.


HEAVY RAIN CAUSES LOCALISED FLOODING/By Scott Deller           27th April 2003

Heavy rain has fallen throughout the metropolitan area tonight causing localised flooding to many areas. A series of storms moved into the basin from the north east at about 7pm.

The highest recorded rainfall in the metropolitan since 9am was Homebush recording 106mm and Canterbury 61mm. In the Sutherland Shire Lucas Heights recorded 52mm. The Bureau of Meteorology predict the rain should clear by mid-morning.

Flooding has resulted in RTA road crews being called to the intersection of the Kingsway and Willarong Road at Caringbah to assist traffic. Audley Weir has been closed to traffic and resident are advised to use the alternative route.

In RFS news Heathcote 1 Bravo/PC  have been assisting SES crews with localised flooding within the shire.


MAN FACES CHARGES OVER BUSHFIRE/By Sheree Went                    24th April 2003

A MAN faces possible criminal charges after a NSW coroner today terminated an inquiry into a 2002 New Year's Day bushfire in Sydney's north.

Coroner Michael Price ended the inquiry leaving the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to now decide whether there was enough evidence to charge the person of interest.

The coroner did not elaborate about the identity of that person or the nature of any possible charges.

But he said "flagrant and serious" breaches of standard Rural Fire Service (RFS) operating procedures led to the January 1, 2002 bushfire in Pennant Hills.

The blaze destroyed more than 630 hectares of parkland and was one of 750 bushfires investigated by NSW Police

A number of the fires, including the one in Pennant Hills, which raged across the state between September 2001 and January 2002 were later referred to the coroner.

In the Downing Centre Local Court today, Mr Price said the inappropriate positioning of a fire tanker at the scene of the northern Sydney blaze had "frustrated" attempts by volunteers to make a hasty retreat.

This had raised major occupational health and safety concerns, he said.

Mr Price recommended the RFS reinforce debriefing procedures and occupational health and safety issues to its volunteers, as well as ensuring communication systems were operating at optimum capacity.

Speaking outside court, counsel for the RFS Carolyn Davenport welcomed the recommendations, saying they would help bring systemic change to the service.

"The point is they show problems of systems whereby people are placed in jeopardy as a result of following orders of superiors when their own experience tells them that it is not the appropriate way to behave," Ms Davenport said.


LPG CYLINDERS/RFS Circular 2/2003                                                      22nd April 2003

Correct procedures when dealing with 45kg LPG cylinders during Bush Fires.

LPG Cylinders not directly impinged by flame (when installed as part of a domestic or commercial installation) should be turned off at the supply valve(s)                                                                                                     

LPG Cylinders directly impinged by flame (when installed as part of a domestic or commercial installation) should be turned off at the supply valve(s) if safe to do so and should be cooled with an adequate water flow.                 

LPG Cylinders that have had direct flame impingement and the fire has passed or been extinguished (when installed as part of a domestic or commercial installation) should be turned off at the supply valve(s) and if safe to do so be cooled with an adequate waterflow.                                                                                                

LPG Cylinders should not be place on there sides at any time

VF and BF manuals will be modified to include this information.


TV TELEMOVIE ABOUT "VOLO" FIRE FIGHTERS                          22nd April 2003

The creators of TV drama series "Police Rescue" hope to replicate their
success with a series set around a rural volunteer fire brigade.
ABC has commissioned a telemovie pilot called "Small Town Heroes".
"fundamentally about community & will feature characters aged from 18 to 50."
"We hope it is going to be ultimately a show for this generation what Police
Rescue was 10 years ago.
Casting began on Thursday with filming due to start in New South Wales on
June 16.

RFS BOATS ATTEND HOUSE FIRE/RFS Media Release                            10th April 2003

Three rural fire brigades responded by boat to a house fire on the northern bank of the Hawkesbury River at around 1am this morning.

Dangar Island, Brooklyn and Bar Point rural fire brigades responded rapidly in darkness to the isolated community of Little Wobby Beach, which is inaccessible by road. Crews found the house and an area of bush well alight. The volunteer firefighters succeeded in protecting a number of adjoining homes by pumping water from the river, however, the original house was razed. The body of a man was discovered at the scene. Crews remained on scene this morning to black out the area and assist with fire investigation. The cause of the fire is not yet known