Australian firefighters are warning that Victoria’s electricity and gas stations are vulnerable while a $1.8 million fire truck with a 137-foot ladder sits unused because it does not have appropriate equipment or enough staff to operate it.
The ‘‘Bronto Ladder” truck has been stored at the Country Fire Authority’s Traralgon station since last December.
The United Firefighters Union said the truck would be a vital firefighting aid if a fire broke out at the Esso gas plant at Longford or any of the Latrobe Valley’s power stations, which supply most of the state’s electricity.
State government budget cuts, which include $41 million stripped from the CFA, could further delay the implementation of the truck.
CFA acting regional director Mark Potter said the specialised truck was being used to train staff and had been used as a back-up in other parts of the state.
He said the station needed to recruit and train five new staff, and the truck needed to be fitted with proper equipment before it was operational.
For more information, view www.theage.com.au