Geelong West Fire Brigade unveiled a new memorial at their station today, 2 December, to honour and remember five of its members who lost their lives at the Linton bushfire 25 years ago.
The new plaque is a tribute to Matthew Armstrong, Jason Thomas, Chris Evans, Stuart Davidson and Garry Vredeveldt from Geelong West Fire Brigade, who made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the community.
Hundreds gathered today for a commemorative service at the Linton Memorial Fountain to mark the 25-year anniversary of the tragedy which is etched in the memories of many CFA members, the families of the fallen firefighters and the broader community.
Geelong West Captain Paul Cockerill said the service, followed by the unveiling of the new memorial at the fire station was a very special and memorable day.
“The new memorial is just one way we can continue to honour our brigade heroes for generations to come,” Paul said.
“We don’t want their story to be forgotten, I want future members to learn from it and understand the importance of safety and training so hopefully we never have a tragedy like this again.
“I’m proud of the new memorial and I want to thank the brigade for funding this important addition to our station.”
CFA Deputy Chief Officer Rohan Luke attended the commemorative service today and said it was a moving ceremony which touched the hearts of everyone there.
“My thoughts are always with the families of the fallen firefighters and our CFA members, especially those who were at the incident that day, 25 years ago,” DCO Luke said.
“We will never forget the sacrifice those firefighters made and we will honour their legacy by continuing to improve our training, equipment and practices.
“There were many lesons learned about safety and procedures from that tragic day which resulted in the biggest change in CFA history with the introduction of mandatory minimum skills for firefighters.
“CFA will always strive to further develop its skills and processes to avoid a devastating incident like this happening again.”
Stories on each fallen member can be found on CFA’s Roll of Honour website.