Sticky-beaks hinder firies on the job


Local fire fighters were hindered from doing their job properly last week when they were called to a house fire.

Fire and Rescue NSW Station 256 deputy captain Alex Lennon said the brigade received a call regarding a house fire in Elizabeth Crescent at approximately 3pm last Tuesday.

Mr Lennon said while they got to the fire very quickly (they were on site within seven minutes and were able to extinguish the blaze quickly) they were hampered in their fire-fighting efforts by nosey onlookers.

“One critical factor when we arrive on fire scenes is time and unfortunately when people sticky beak and continually drive past it impacts our speed and the ability to get other services in and put out the fire,” Mr Lennon said.

He said sadly this is happening more and more often.

“It is almost getting to the point where the first thing we need to do on scene is set up witches hats rather than attend to the fire because of the extra hazard the traffic makes.

“We already park the trucks in a defensive position to block access to the road but unfortunately some people don’t get the hint and still try to squeeze past, most staring and some even taking photos/videos.

“We have even had someone drive over our hoses as we were fighting the fire,” Mr Lennon said which interrupted their water flow.

“We strongly discourage this trend of behaviour as it causes us more stress, makes the scene more hazardous and doesn’t allow us to do our job to the best of our ability.

“I’d like to ask Cobar residents to consider how they would feel if their house was on fire, or someone in their family was potentially hurt or in danger.

“This is potentially someone’s darkest moment and we ask that people show a bit of respect and common sense.

“Please stay away if you know we are there, and if you happen to come across an incident please go the other way,” he said.

Mr Lennon said when they arrived at the Elizabeth Crescent home last week they found the house filled with smoke and they set quickly to work to put out the fire in the kitchen.

He said the cause of the fire is still being investigated but it does not appear suspicious.

“The kitchen sustained substantial damage and the remainder of house had a lot of smoke damage. The residents were home at the time and we commend them for their fast and safe evacuation of the house without re-entering which is a common factor with house fire fatalities,” Mr Lennon said.

He also offered some further advice: “During a house fire, when you are evacuating, if you can safely shut doors behind you as you leave, it can significantly reduce damage to the house, however this is only recommended when it is safe to do so.”

Research has shown that shutting doors can help to slow the spread of flames.

Mr Lennon praised residents who had the good sense to stay well away from fires.

“You make our job that bit less stressful,” he said.