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House fire rescue update
The two firefighters who rescued a young man from a recent Werribee house fire first met one year earlier as instructor and new recruit at Fiskville Training College.
In late September, Corio Leading Firefighter Sam Maiolo was doing a shift at Hoppers Crossing Fire Station alongside Chris Ryan who is completing his first year as a firefighter.
“I did six months at Fiskville last year working on two recruit courses,” says Sam. “I was Chris’s instructor there but this was the first time I’d worked with him.”
The house fire was called in at 7:37am.
“I was the pump driver and BA crew leader for the call,” continues Sam. “I prepared a few lines of 38 while Chris put BA on and did an attack at the back of the property which was the seat of the fire. I then put BA on and we heard that someone might still be inside. We took the TIC [thermal imaging camera] in the front door and by then half to three-quarters of the house was involved. Chris did a few bursts of fog and it began to flashover.
“We went into rescue mode and searched from left to right and, within about 30 seconds to a minute, Chris had spotted someone on the floor. We took him out together and put him on the grass outside.”
The occupant was suffering from burns and smoke inhalation and was taken care of by the outside crew.
Chris and Sam, however, were unsure whether all occupants were accounted for and returned inside for a further search. Fortunately the property was empty.
“We had a process and we followed it,” says Sam. “To Chris’s credit, he was faultless. He was calm; he was collected. He did all that was asked of him and more and it all fell into place. It was a proud moment for me to see that what I’d taught at Fiskville has sunk in.”
Incident Controller Steve Attard gives equal credit to Sam for the speedy rescue. “It was battle stations when we got there,” says Steve. “People were running around and one man said he didn’t know where his brother was.
“It was good to see Sam come back from being an instructor and see the fruits of his training. He and Chris worked very well together.
“Thanks also to Werribee pumper for their support and the volunteers from Hoppers.”
Senior Station Officer Dave Abbey took over as incident controller from Steve after the rescue. He also expresses pride in Chris and the whole crew.
“They carried out the rescue with professionalism and speed,” he says. “The family was ecstatic.”
Channel Seven News report below:
Related story: Man pulled from Werribee house fire