Bendigo fire station down four trucks

BENDIGO fire station was equipped with just one fire truck for seven hours on Friday after four trucks were contaminated with asbestos.

United Firefighters Union secretary Peter Marshall said the trucks were removed from the station at 11am to be specially cleaned, after they were contaminated at a fire in Harvey Street, West Bendigo.

He said the remaining truck was a tanker, which could not adequately pump water to put a fire out.

The station was sent two replacement pumper trucks at 6pm, he said.

He said the incident showed the CFA didn't have enough spare resources and the station should have been given replacement pumper trucks much sooner.

He said although neighbouring CFA stations could also respond to fires, such as the Golden Square and Kangaroo Flat brigades, those stations were manned by volunteers, rather than career firefighters.

"At Bendigo there's a 90-second response time, which means (firefighters) have to be driving the truck out the door within 90 seconds of receiving a call," he said.

"Volunteers have four minutes - there's that delayed response."

But a CFA spokesman said the vehicles had been replaced and during the interim the Bendigo community was served by surrounding brigades.

He said volunteer firefighters were capable of adequately responding to fires.

"We are proudly a volunteer-based service," he said.

"It would be very disappointing if there was any sort of suggestion the volunteers weren't able to respond to the community," he said.

"We make sure we always have adequate measures in place.

"Our service delivery in the Bendigo region has been maintained."

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