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Cornishtown shed fire
Chiltern Fire Brigade responded to a shed fire at Cornishtown on Saturday 6 June within Chiltern brigade assignment area 2.
The large rambling steel clad shed, being fitted out to live in, was fully involved with fire and threatening the house beside it. The incident was at a rural property a couple of kilometres out of town.
First on scene was Chiltern pumper tanker. The crew was faced with flames leaping 10-15 metres in the air. The initial attack involved urgent asset protection as the shed was only metres from the house and pergola. A BBQ against a window on the house was already on fire with the cover melting, and flames were running up a power pole beside the shed. The fire was very difficult to manage because of its close proximity to the house, as well as additional hazards encountered including rounds of ammunition combusting and the possibility of falling powerlines.
Although three more tankers were en route, the Incident Controller escalated the event calling for a further three tankers. Ultimately 11 appliances assisted: Chiltern pumper tanker, Chiltern tankers 1 and 2, Rutherglen tanker and pumper, Barnawartha tanker, Springhurst tankers 1 and 2, Cornishtown tanker, Wodonga FCV and BA trailer and crews.
Once the house was protected and with additional resources arriving, the main focus of the attack was directed at the shed. An external attack was mounted using teams of firefighters and two BA teams to bring the fire under control. Water jets were directed through window openings and gaps where walls had collapsed.
Chiltern pumper tanker and Rutherglen tanker were on the fireline and a constant relay of tankers kept them supplied with water from the hydrant at Chiltern Fire Station.
When it became apparent that the BA teams would use all available cylinders from Chiltern, Rutherglen, Barnawartha and Springhurst appliances, additional resources were requested from D24. Wodonga Brigade brought down their FCV and BA trailer with crews, enabling cylinders to be re-filled on the fire ground as well as assisting with the internal attack.
There were still many areas of fire inside the structure that were inaccessible from an external attack. Once it was safe enough, BA crews mounted an internal attack with the aid of a thermal imaging camera. Most of the roof had collapsed and crews had to be very wary of twisted loose metal sheeting and all manner of burnt out equipment and debris.
Captain Andrew Walls said, “Just another few minutes and the house would have been involved. There were also two gas cylinders heating up beside the burning shed. These had to be cooled down and removed, once the fire coming through the shed windows, burning on either side of them, had been attacked. All in all it was a good save.”
The house was saved but unfortunately the ferocity of the fire meant the shed was lost. It was a long night. It took over four and a half hours of arduous work by firefighters and BA operators to control the fire and cool the hotspots within the fallen structure.
Chiltern brigade wishes to thank Rutherglen, Barnawartha, Cornishtown, and Springhurst Brigades for sending crews and tankers to support the incident, as well as Wodonga Brigade for turning out the Wodonga FCV with BA trailer, thermal imaging camera and crews. Thank you also to Victoria Police for their attendance. Fire Investigators attended the following morning with Chiltern pumper tanker on hand.
Ian and Marelle Whitaker, Chiltern Fire Brigade.