Filipino brigade boost for Pyramid Hill

Pyramid Hill has received a boost in volunteer numbers ahead of what is predicted to be an early and long bushfire season.


Six members of the town’s Filipino community have undertaken firefighting training and are now able to jump on the back of a truck to attend local structure fires bushfires. It’s the result of a combined effort from Pyramid Hill Captain Steve Mann and brigade members, supported by regional and district CFA staff.

Pyramid Hill firefighter Mark Lacey said the Filipino community made up about 20 per cent of the town’s population of about 500.

Already credited with saving a local Catholic primary school and providing a much-needed boost to the local workforce, members of the community have now entered that quintessential Victorian country institution: the local CFA fire brigade.

“We’ve been blessed,” Mr Lacey said. “It’s totally different for them here but they are very thankful to our community and want to get involved.

“They’re very shy people - I knew that when I got one, I’d get a few more at the same time.

“They’ve been very keen at training. Now that they’ve finished the training they are all ready to roll.”

Richard Fernandez, who nine years ago followed wife Marilyn to Australia with three of their children before the community fund-raised to bring the remaining three children to their new home, said it was the Filipino community’s way of saying thanks.

“We want to be part of the community as much as possible and give back,” he said.

“Most of these new members have actually bought their house here in Pyramid Hill now so they want to join the community and join the CFA,” he said.

The group did their Minimum Skills course during winter and have taken part in fire drill during spring.

“Pyramid Hill CFA has been really welcoming - all the members and the captain,” Mr Fernandez said.

“We’re looking forward to being able to help with fires during the summer season.”


Author: Liselotte Geary